national statuary hall - oregon state oregon and the national statuary hall washington, d. c. the...
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National Statuary Hall
. WASHINGTON. D. C.
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Published by OREGON STATUARY COMMITTEE
STATE PRINTING DEPT.
r OREGON AND THE NATIONAL STATUARY HALL
WASHINGTON, D. C.
THE NATIONAL Statuary Hall in \"X!ashington, D. c., has had 'a colorful career. Built as the first Assembly Hall of the United States House of Representatives, it was burned by the British on August 24, 1814, at which time the v'andalism was quite complete. It was rebuilt and in 1819 re-occupiedby the House and continued as such till 1859 when it was abandoned.
In it such men as Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Monroe, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, John Randolph, John Quincy Adams and many others or-ated and debated in the founding and critical days of our government.
Here James Madison took oath of office as the fourth president of the United States; here the Missouri Compromise was argued; here John Quincy Adams, as ex-president of the United States, and, later, as a Member of the House of Representatives from Massa-chusetts, died at his desk; and here, the person who announced to the House the death of John Randolph, himself dropped dead.
It was considered beautiful but impracticable as a home for the House of Representatives. Senator Morrill of Vermont said of it on January 13, 1864:
"Congress is the guardian of this fine hall, surpassing in beauty all the rooms of this vast pile.
Its noble columns from a quarry exhausted and incapable -of reproduction-
'Nature formed but one and broke the die in moulding'."
John Randolph of Roanoke said of it:
"Handsomest and fit for anything but the use intended."
It is described as a Greek theatre-semi-circular in design having pillars of Patomac marble with white marble capitals and a ceiling like the Pantheon of Rome. It was lighted by a grandiose chandelier much more picturesque than practical.
Charles E. Fairman, Art Curator, United States Capitol, in his book "Art and Artists of the Capitol of the U. S. A.", says: "Upon
due consideration it seems to have been in the mind of the officials in charge of the construction of the Capitol, to make Statuary Hall in every particular the most impressive portion of the entire Capitol . . . . we can imagine that with the gallery complete and with the use of the hall for legislative purposes, and with the furnishings belonging to that period, it must have been unequaled as 'a legislative chamber by any then existing throughout the world."
After this hall was abandoned as the home of the National House of Representatives, it fell rapidly into disuse "draped with cobwebs and carpeted with dust."
Senator Morrill of Vermont was active in having it again put to 'a useful purpose. Speaking to this point on January 13, 1864, he said:'
"Its democratic simplicity and grandeur of style, and its wealth of 'association with many earnest and eloquent chapters of the history of our country, deserve perpetuity at the hands of the American Congress."
The appeal was heeded and on July 2, 1864,an act was passed by Congress. It reads in part:
"The President is authorized to invite each and all of the states to provide and furnish statues in marble or bronze, not exceeding two in number for each state, of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown, or for distinguished civil or milieary service, such as each state may deem to be worthy of this national com-memoration;-
and when so furnished, the same shall be placed in the Old Hall of the House of Representatives . . . . which is set apart . . . . as a national Statuary Hall for the purposes herein indicated."
After this Act was passed Senator Morrill followed it up, and on January 25, 1865, wrote a letter to President Lincoln reminding him of the Act and suggesting that he take action. Accordingly, on February 3, 1865, the Acting Secretary of St'ate, F. W. Seward,
addressed a letter to the Governor of each state inviting each to send two statues .. Senator Morrill, ever keen for the proper use of the old hall, closed his speech with this plea:
"Will not the states with generous emulation proudly respond and thus furnish a new evidence that the Union will clasp and hold forever all its jewels-the glories of the past, civil, military and judicial-in one hallowed spot where those who will be here to aid in carrying on the government may daily receive fresh inspiration-and where pilgrims from all parts of the Union, as well as from foreign lands, may come -and behold a gallery filled with such American manhood as succeeding generations will delight to honor. . We may reasonably expect that the state contributions . will speedily furnish here in the capitol of the nation, a collec-tion of statuary that will reflect honor upon the illustrious dead and the republic found to be neither ungrateful to its distinguished sons nor unmindful of its obligations."
The records indicate that to date thirty-four (34) st-ates have sent two statues each, and six (6) states have each sent one statue, making a total of seventy-four (74) statues. Eight (8) states are unrepresented. They are Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
Of the. seventy-four persons represented, fifty-six are indicated as being for civic services, sixteen for military services and two for historic renown.
The following list indicates the various occupations represented by those chosen, some representing several such, and the number in each multiple classifioation:
24 U. S. Senators . 19 Governors 12 Lawyers 9 Cabinet Members 7 Congressmen 5 Religionists 3 Physicians 3 Educators 3 Presidents
3 Vice Presidents 3 Chief Justices 3 Signers of the Declaration
of Independence 2 Pioneers 2 Inventors 1 Indian 1 Humorist
1 Woman (Frances E. Willard of Illinois)
[ 5 ]
Pursuant to the invitation to place two statues in Sratuary Hall as set forth hereinabove, there was a House Joint Resolution passed 'by the Oregon Legislature of 1921 in part as follows: '
"Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon, the Senate concurring:
That, ih view of the valuable 'and effective services rendered this Commonwealth in the early and formative period of its history by Dr. John McLoughlin and Rev. ]lison Lee, it is the judgment of this Legislative Assembly that they should be named and they are hereby named for the distinguished honor of having their statues placed in the "Hall of Fame" of the National Capitol at Washington, D. c., as representatives of the State of Oregon ."
On March 26, 1945, the Governor approved a bill which reads in pad as follows:
"Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon: Section 1. That the President of the Senate and the Speaker
of the House of the forty-third Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon, the Governor and four (4) additional citizens of the State of Oregon, to be named by the three persons here-inabove specified, hereby are designated a Committee to carry out the provisions of this Act.
Section 4. The Committee created by this Act shall be and it hereby is granted full authority to proceed to enter into such contracts, and, in its discretion, to do all things necessary and proper to obtain and have installed in Statuary Hall in the National Capitol, statues, of Oregon citizens as hereinabove mentioned. In performing its duties under this Act, the Com-mittee is authorized on behalf of the State to accept gifts, grants and donations from any source, and, in its discretion, to take such steps as it may find necessary and deem advisable to obtain funds to accomplish the purposes of the Act."
Acting under the authority of this Act, the Committee com-posed of the Hon. Earl Snell, Governor; the Hon. Howard C. Belton, President of the Senate; the Hon. Eugene E. Marsh, Speaker of the House, both of the Forty-third Legislative Assembly; Hon. Leslie M. SCOtt, Srate Treasurer; Hon. Robert W. Sawyer, of Bend; Mrs. George T. Gerlinger of Portland and Dr. Burt Brown
Barker of Portland, met and organized by electing Dr. Barker as Chairman, Mr. Sawyer as Vice Chairman; Mrs. Gerlinger as Secretary and Mr. Scott as Treasurer of said Committee. Thereupon said Committee held a series of meetings open to the public, and since it did not appear to the Committee that public opinion required the designation of a different illustrious citizen or citizens than either of those named in the House Joint Resolution No.1, of the thirty-first Legislative Assembly, which resolution designated Dr. John McLoughlin and the Rev. Jason Lee as the proper persons to be the representatives of the State of Oregon in the national Statuary Hall in Washington, D. c., the Committee confirmed the action of the thirty-first Legislative Assembly designating Dr. John McLoughlin and the Rev. Jason Lee as the proper and fitting persons thus to be honored.
Thereupon the Committee canvassed the field and considered a number of bids from sculptors from the various parts of the United States and, after many weeks, finally chose A. Phimister Proctor and his son; Gifford MacGregor Proctor, to be the sculptors to execute the statues in bronze.
The senior Proctor has a nation-wide reputation as an artist having executed the following works in Oregon:
Equestrian Statue of Theodor