[Illegible text] AP, Hollowell December 28, 1933
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
UNITED STATES IN MEMORY OF
LATE A REPRESENTATIVE
FROM NORTH CAROLINA
JANUARY 9, 1924GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING
|Proceedings in the House||1|
|Prayer by Rev. James Shera Montgomery||3|
|Memorial addresses by—|
|Mr. Charles M. Stedman, of North Carolina||5|
|Mr. Edward W. Pou, of North Carolina||10|
|Mr. William R. Green, of Iowa||13|
|Mr. Frederick H. Gillett, of Massachusetts||19|
|Mr. Robert L. Doughton, of North Carolina||23|
|Mr. Finis J. Garrett, of Tennessee||26|
|Mr. John H. Kerr, of North Carolina||31|
|Mr. Charles R. Crisp, of Georgia||34|
|Mr. Nicholas Longworth, of Ohio||37|
|Mr. Zebulon Weaver, of North Carolina||40|
|Mr. R. Walton Moore, of Virginia||45|
|Mr. Homer L. Lyon, of North Carolina||48|
|Mr. Alfred L. Bulwinkle, of North Carolina||51|
|Mr. Charles L. Abernethy, of North Carolina||53|
|Mr. William C. Hammer, of North Carolina||55|
|Mr. Henry T. Rainey, of Illinois||62|
|Mr. James W. Collier, of Mississippi||64|
|Mr. Ross A. Collins, of Mississippi||69|
|Mr. James F. Byrnes, of South Carolina||73|
|Mr. William A. Oldfield, of Arkansas||75|
|Mr. Clarence Cannon, of Missouri||81|
|Mr. Percy E. Quin, of Mississippi||84|
|Mr. Martin B. Madden, of Illinois||86|
|Mr. Robert Crosser, of Ohio||90|
|Mr. William D. Upshaw, of Georgia||95|
|Mr. William F. Stevenson, of South Carolina||101|
|Mr. Hallett S. Ward, of North Carolina||105|
|Proceedings in the Senate||113|
|Memorial addresses by—|
|Mr. Furnifold M. Simmons, of North Carolina||117|
|Mr. Lee S. Overman, of North Carolina||121|
Proceedings in the House of Representatives
Claude KitchinProceedings in the House of Representatives
WEDNESDAY, December 5, 1923.
Mr. POU. Mr. Speaker, it becomes my painful duty to announce to the House of Representatives the death of our colleague the Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN on the 31st day of May, who at the time of his death was minority leader. During my service of twenty-odd years I have not known a greater debater than CLAUDE KITCHIN. But his heart was so full of the milk of human kindness he commanded the respect and affection of his political opponents as well as his friends. I shall say nothing further at this time, but send to the Clerk's desk a resolution, the adoption of which I ask, and at a future day I shall ask that a day be set apart on which Members may express this appreciation of our dead leader.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from North Carolina offers a resolution, which the Clerk will report.
The Clerk read (H. Res. 12) as follows:
Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow of the death of the Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, a Representative from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate and transmit a copy thereof to the family of deceased.
The question was taken, and the resolution was unanimously agreed to.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Mr. Speaker, as a further mark of respect to the memory of our deceased colleague, I move that the House do now adjourn.
The motion was agreed to; and accordingly (at 2 o'clock and 40 minutes p. m.) the House adjourned until to-morrow, Thursday, December 6, 1923, at 12 o'clock noon.
THURSDAY, December 13, 1923.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. Craven, one of its clerks, announced that the Senate had passed the following resolution:
Resolved further, That the Secretary communicate these sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved further, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the House of Representatives and transmit a copy thereof to the family of the deceased.
THURSDAY, January 3, 1924.
Mr. KERR. Mr. Speaker, I offer the following order, which I ask unanimous consent to have immediately considered and passed.
The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from North Carolina? [After a pause.] The Chair hears none.
The Clerk read as follows:
Ordered, That Wednesday, the 9th day of January, 1924, at 12 o'clock noon, be set apart for addresses on the life, character, and public services of Hon. CLAUDE
KITCHIN, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.
The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the adoption of the order? [After a pause.] The Chair hears none.
WEDNESDAY, January 9, 1924.
The Chaplain, Rev. James Shera Montgomery, D. D., offered the following prayer:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Our faith looks up to Thee as the source of all life and wisdom and as the inspiration of all good. In the duties of this day, in the extended fields of endeavor, in the onward march of wealth, power, and influence, help us, O Lord, to remember our dependence on Thee. Impress that Thy laws are imperative—perfect in their character and perpetual in their obligations. Descend upon us, Holy Spirit, that our thoughts, judgments, and acts may conform to Thy holy will. As we tarry in memory of one who has entered the larger and the diviner life, O be in touch with us. Comfort the home to which the angel of death has come. There is a void in many hearts, for those who knew him best loved him most. A lover of his country, a servant of the people, a brother to his fellows, and when he left us the heavens opened and his soul became immortal. Blessed rest that awaits the people of God through Christ. Amen.
The SPEAKER. The Clerk will report the special order for to-day.
The Clerk read as follows:
On motion of Mr. Kerr, by unanimous consent—
Ordered, That Wednesday, January 9, 1924, be set apart for addresses on the life, character, and public services of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.
Mr. KERR. Mr. Speaker, I desire to offer the following resolution and ask for its adoption.
The Clerk read (H. Res. 140) as follows:
Resolved, That the business of the House be now suspended that opportunity may be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Member of this House from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved, That as a particular mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, and in recognition of his distinguished public career, the House, at the conclusion of these exercises, shall stand adjourned.
Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate.
Resolved, That the Clerk send a copy of these resolutions to the family of the deceased.
The resolution was agreed to.
The SPEAKER. The Chair will ask the gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. Stedman] to preside during the memorial exercises.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Stedman). This day has been set apart, as has just been stated by the Speaker, for memorial exercises in connection with the death of our distinguished associate and friend, Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, of North Carolina. The gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. Kerr] will please take the chair.
Mr. KERR assumed the chair as Speaker pro tempore.
Address by Representative Stedman
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: It is said that the literature of every age is distinctive of the era in which it exists. This is true, and it is likewise so that every age gives to the world men marked by characteristics which distinguish them from preceding and succeeding ages. History teaches us that a few stand out in bold relief who represent the high qualities of the most distinguished of every age. Pericles illumined the Golden Age of Athens. Rome has given to the student of history names whose lives have cast luster upon the glory of that mighty Empire, which in the zenith of its greatness ruled the ancient world.
In modern times many countries have given to the world men of renown who in legislation and by their private lives have made the world a better and more happy home for mankind.
To this class belonged CLAUDE KITCHIN. For many years I had the high honor and good fortune of close intimacy with him. He talked to me freely and without reserve, and I had every opportunity to form an accurate opinion of his intellectual and moral characteristics.
He was born in Halifax County, N. C., near Scotland Neck, March 24, 1869, amongst a people ever distinguished for their refinement and attachment to lofty ideals.
His father, William Hodges Kitchin, was recognized by all who knew him as a man of unbending
integrity and great force of character. His mother was Maria Arrington. She was a woman of rare virtues of head and heart. To a marked degree he inherited the strong traits of his father's race with the kindness of heart which distinguished his mother.
He graduated from Wake Forest College in June, 1888, and was married to Miss Kate Mills November 13 of the same year, a lady in every way worthy of his companionship through life. He was admitted to the bar September, 1890, and was engaged in the practice of law until his death. He was elected to the Fifty-seventh, Fifty-eighth, Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth, Sixty-first, Sixty-second, Sixty-third, Sixty-fourth, Sixty-fifth, Sixty-sixth, Sixty-seventh, and Sixty-eighth Congresses.
He was one of the foremost orators in political debate North Carolina has ever furnished to our country. Perhaps the most memorable political campaign ever waged in that State was that in which Hon. Z. B. Vance and Hon. Thomas Settle led the opposing forces of their respective parties. They were both men of a high order of intellect and singularly gifted as orators in debate.
Thousands followed them to the places where were held their joint discussions. They had that inspiration given by a great audience. I heard them more than once and I do not hesitate to say that neither exhibited the high capacity for debate which often characterized the speeches of CLAUDE KITCHIN on this floor. By common consent of all his associates he had few equals and no superior in
debate in this the theater of many of his greatest efforts.
His intellectual honesty contributed largely to the influence which he exerted over every assemblage which he addressed.
He did not endeavor to persuade himself that wrong was right, but ever adhered to the truth of his convictions regardless of the consequences to himself.
A supreme love of truth, a lofty and generous patriotism, a forgetfulness of self, moral courage, personal fearlessness, absolute sincerity in word, in thought, and in deed; these with an intense love of humanity constituted the basis of his character, which will ever be resplendent in the galaxy of great names which the southern portion of our Republic has furnished to the world.
The cardinal feature of his mental and moral nature was his absolute devotion to whatever he deemed to be the cause of right. He loved North Carolina from the heights of Mount Mitchell, which overlook a vast territory of unsurpassed beauty, far down to its eastern shores. Its people were all near unto his heart. He had an honest pride in the glory of its annals.
No citizen of this Republic in public life was more profoundly interested in the welfare of our common country and its manifest destiny amidst the nations of the world for the good of mankind.
He had an enthusiastic love for the Confederate soldier, it mattered not from what State he came. The recital of his unexcelled achievements upon
the different fields of his glory was ever to him a pleasure and delight.
He was a magnanimous man cast in the heroic mold, and from the lofty heights where such spirits are at home looked down with scorn upon all that was base and mean.
He was an unselfish man. He neither sought nor would have luxuries whilst others around him were in need. He cared nothing for money, and gave it when he had it to those in distress.
His life was as stainless as that of a pure woman. No word ever came from his lips which carried with it an impure thought.
CLAUDE KITCHIN has gone to his final rest. He has preceded us by a few days’ journey along the route of the innumerable caravan whose march is ever toward the setting sun. Fortunate is the Nation, and exalted will be its destiny, which can furnish to the world such a model for emulation as portrayed in his life and character.
Well may his associates mourn the loss of such a leader upon the floor of this House and ever keep before them his image as an example to guide them in the future.
He died in the triumph and faith of the Christian religion and left a name without blemish and without reproach, a heritage of honor to his wife and children, to his State, and to our common country.
His name and fame belong not to North Carolina alone but are the common property of the American people, and will be preserved by them when the marble statues erected in Statuary Hall have perished by decay and crumbled into dust.
He sleeps in a cemetery near Scotland Neck, amongst the people he loved so well. His requiem will ever be sung by the waters of Roanoke River, upon whose banks he often wandered in the days of his boyhood. Their refrain will be echoed by the Natahala as it winds its way amongst the western hills of his native State.
- But brother, you have not died in vain,
- For you will live until the end of time;
- Your record shines without a stain,
- The soul of faith marches on unslain,
- To the heights of the hills sublime.
Mr. STEDMAN resumed the chair as Speaker pro tempore.
Address by Representative Pou
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: It was my privilege to serve with Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN in the House for more than 22 years. I first knew him as a young man about 19 years of age. It is well to let the record tell the story of the life of the man. He has passed into the great beyond, but the life he led will serve as a great ennobling example to thousands who in the years to come read the story of his life, which will be told by those who take part in these exercises.
He was a hard fighter, and yet his warmest, most devoted friends were to be found on both sides of the dividing aisle. He fought so fairly that he won the admiration and even the affection of many of his political opponents. His colleagues were so fond of him they very soon discarded the mister and simply spoke of him as CLAUDE.
Even when he refused to vote for the resolution which brought this Nation into the Great War the love and respect of his colleagues for this man was so great they refrained from criticizing his course. He brought in measures providing billions of taxes, and not a man in this Chamber ever doubted for one moment he was using every ounce of his great energy and talents to do everything necessary to support the armies at the front and to win the hateful contest into which we were drawn as quickly as possible.
So many of those who knew him or served with him desire to pay tribute to his memory that my remarks must be brief. He was one of the most remarkable men I have ever known. He was a hard fighter, and yet no whisper of scandal ever touched him. Of all the men I have known since I have been a Member of this body he was the equal of any as a debater. He was also a close student. His close attention to his duties, the careful preparation for which he was noted probably shortened his life. His first speech on this floor on the tariff question consumed about three hours, and those who were present would have given him six hours if he had asked for it.
He soon became the leading spirit on the Ways and Means Committee. At length he was made chairman of that great committee. He would have been made Speaker if the Democrats had carried this House.
One learns after years of experience there is nothing worth while in this world except character. I feel saddened to-day when I reflect that of all those who entered the Fifty-seventh Congress I alone on the Democratic side remain. There are four or five of my colleagues on the Republican side. There are my beloved friends, the Speaker, who was here before the Fifty-seventh Congress, Mr. Greene of Massachusetts, Mr. Butler of Pennsylvania, and perhaps one or two more. There is nothing that is worth while, there is nothing that endures except character, and CLAUDE KITCHIN'S character was as inflexible as a rod of the hardest
steel. He suffered much. Through many months he waged a battle to regain his health, but at last he has gone with the great majority.
Sweet be his sleep; glorious his awakening. His State will preserve and cherish his memory as a proud mother that of her offspring. The Nation will never forget his great career as a Member of this body.
Address by Representative Green
Mr. SPEAKER: I was, unfortunately, on an extended trip in somewhat out-of-the-way places in the far West at the time Mr. KITCHIN died, and did not even learn of his death until nearly a month after it occurred. I am also somewhat unfortunate on this occasion for the reason that I had not heard that these exercises were to be held to-day until a few moments ago, when I came into the lobby and was so informed by my colleague on the committee, Mr. Collier. But although I have had no opportunity for that preparation which would be necessary to do justice to the memory of the departed, I not only had a desire to speak at this time but it seemed altogether fitting that one who, like myself, had served so long on the same committee with Mr. KITCHIN and whom the ebb and flow of events had brought to the chairmanship which he once held should at least say something on this occasion.
CLAUDE KITCHIN and I were friends—sincere, earnest, faithful friends. I think there was nothing in the world that I could have asked of him, consistent with his principles, that he would not have done for me—for he would have asked nothing improper—that I would not have done for him in the way of a personal favor.
I served with him on the Ways and Means Committee for some 12 years, although in the latter
part of that time, by reason of his health, he was not permitted to attend all of its sessions. He was an extraordinarily lovable man. His geniality, his uniformly good temper—for I never saw him lose control of himself under the most adverse conditions—his accommodating disposition, his desire in the work of the committee to treat all with perfect fairness, not only on his own side but also on the other side, caused all members of the committee, both Republicans and Democrats, to become deeply attached to him.
Mr. Speaker, CLAUDE KITCHIN was a most misunderstood man and a much underrated man in the northern sections of this country. Much of this came about through no fault of his but, on the contrary, as I view it, through a matter which was very much to his credit. At one time there was pending before our committee a matter which greatly affected the profits of the big newspapers, as it concerned the postage which was to be paid upon their circulation. Mr. KITCHIN was believed to have been the originator of the measure that was afterwards reported by our committee, increasing the rate of postage on newspapers and periodicals. In fact he was not the originator of the proposition, but he sanctioned it, and, with that courage that he always showed with reference to all matters, he never shirked the responsibility of it. As a result, he incurred the enmity of the press in certain parts of the country and was often misrepresented and sometimes even belittled in the newspapers.
I have heretofore taken occasion on this floor to contradict the statement that was so many times repeated that he had stated in debate on the war revenue act that he wanted it so framed as to cast the burdens of it on the northern sections of our country in order that they would pay the most. Mr. KITCHIN never said anything of the kind. He was honest, not merely in his private transactions but in his public career, and he never intentionally, either in public or private, treated anyone unjustly.
Of course, the wealth of the Nation being greater in the North than in the South, the great tax measure of 1918 had the effect of making the North pay much more than the South, but Mr. KITCHIN framed it with no such purpose. The purpose was simply to make the wealth of the Nation, wherever it was found, subject to its provisions and to require that men of wealth, who presumably benefited most by the protection our armies afforded, to contribute toward carrying on the war in proportion to their means. But notwithstanding the denials that I made on his behalf, for he declined to dignify the charge even by a denial, the statement was continually repeated in the press, and some newspapers never lost an opportunity to disparage his ability and depreciate his services.
Mr. KITCHIN was, in fact, a big man with remarkable talents in many directions. No public speaker could more quickly catch and hold an audience, and if he had gone into one of the large cities and entered jury practice I can say, after the experience of many years upon the bench, he would
have taken the very highest rank in that branch of jurisprudence. Not only that, but he would have been able to command the largest fees in his practice that were paid to anyone for such services.
I never knew a man who had more courage, and I remember quite well, as many of you do who are now before me, the time he stood here when we were voting upon the joint resolution which declared war against Germany. It was a most fateful decision that he was making. An overwhelming majority, not only of his own side of the House but of my own side, was against him. Public opinion was intensely aroused, and the disposition was to treat everyone who did not support the declaration as one who was almost a traitor to his country. Yet he said, in substance:
I regret that I must now part company from my friends, but, hard as the task is and dark the road, I would rather it be such than to part with convictions which I sincerely hold, and I will do it although I walk a stony path barefoot and alone.
A deep hush spread over this House at the time he made that declaration. Truly he was compelled to walk the path almost alone, and many felt, and he himself must have feared, that he had taken a course which would lead to his political ruin. But no matter how much we might have disagreed with him at that time with reference to the vote that was to be cast, every man who listened to him knew that CLAUDE KITCHIN was absolutely sincere in his convictions and directed by them alone in the action which he took.
Mr. KITCHIN was a great debater. There never was a man in this House, so far as I know, who excelled him in impromptu debate, and in certain lines there never was his equal since I have been in the House. No one could match him in the art of pouring good-natured ridicule upon his opponents’ opposition or arguments. There have been at various times in this House men who were masters of sarcasm, but these men inflicted by their remarks wounds that never healed. The victims felt that they were inspired by malice and spoken regardless of the injury they might do. The result was that, although they might have many admirers from afar off, they had few close friends and many enemies. But it was very different with Mr. KITCHIN. His raillery was as effective, if not more so, than biting sarcasm. It left no wounds that would not heal, for whenever a shaft of his humor was directed at an adversary it never was tipped with venom or winged with malice. He was always good-natured about it, so much so that even those who were the object of such remarks on his part—and I have been one of those myself—could but feel that there was no malice or ill feeling behind the statement but only a smile and a laugh that passed for the moment and was gone.
Mr. Speaker, CLAUDE KITCHIN is gone. I call him CLAUDE because in my friendship I have the right so to do. We shall not soon see his like again. Men of such courage and steadfastness are apt to be stern, self-contained, and selfish. None of these things could be said of him. In the most tense
excitement of debate, under the strain of work and the pressure of illness, he still retained the same smile, the same cheery demeanor, the same lovable disposition. We need more men like him; men of the people and for the people; men of courage that dare to oppose great interests; men that are true to their convictions at all times. Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I present this humble tribute to the memory of CLAUDE KITCHIN.
Address by Speaker Gillett
Mr. SPEAKER: I am one of the very few Members of the House who can remember Mr. KITCHIN when he first came here. His brilliant brother preceded him by one or two Congresses, and the two then served together from different districts of North Carolina, and I remember them well. It would be hard anywhere to find two more handsome, attractive young men. They seemed bursting with health and physical vigor, and it looked as if they were certain of long lives and great achievements, and it is an instance of the uncertainty of human life that some of us, whose prospects were far less hopeful, are now here to mourn them.
For some years I only knew Mr. KITCHIN slightly as one of the stalwart, vigorous, effective orators whom his side brought forward on partisan occasions to make one of his rattling, lively, spirited speeches, heaping ridicule on his opponents and exciting the enthusiasm of his own side. No one could do it better than he. I remember very well how he used to stand back near the door in the center aisle—that was before the custom had grown up, as now, of speaking from the area—and he would interest and excite the whole House by the vigor of his polemics, generally very partisan but always very entertaining and attractive. What the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Green] said about
his good nature was, I think, a striking characteristic of his oratory. He had great capacity for overwhelming his adversary; he always welcomed interruptions; he could almost invariably get the better of the heckler and throw confusion upon his opponent. But he did it in such a good-natured manner, apparently bubbling and overflowing with good will and cheerfulness, that no one felt resentment or humiliation at what he said. He never was vitriolic or bitter. He reminded me of Walton's description in his Compleat Angler to hook a frog as bait. He says, “You put the hook in his mouth and bring it out through the gills; you tie one leg to the wire by a fine thread,” and then kindly Sir Isaac adds, “in so doing use him as if you loved him.” And so Mr. KITCHIN treated his victims as if he loved them, and I think he generally did, and that notwithstanding his treatment they generally reciprocated.
I came later to know him intimately, because when I was acting as floor leader on the Republican side he was floor leader on the Democratic side, and that brought us into constant contact. While our previous relations were rather those of mere acquaintance, they were later cemented into very close and warm friendship. I think no one could ever come into close contact with Mr. KITCHIN without coming to love him. There was one feature of our relations which I think is generally true in this House, but which is not much appreciated outside, and that is the sacredness of the agreements to which we come. We were constantly
making agreements as to the order of business and the conduct of affairs. These agreements, informal, often oral, sometimes rather vague and yet always binding, never caused a breach.
I knew that whatever he said he would always abide by. Of course, there were sometimes misunderstandings, but those misunderstandings were never taken advantage of; there was never a suspicion of unfairness, and we always came to an amicable and satisfactory settlement.
In our early acquaintance I had always thought of Mr. KITCHIN as a somewhat indolent man, not particularly devoted to his duties in the House, but rather reserved for special show occasions. When he became leader and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, however, he disclosed an entirely different character. I am sure we have all of us noted in this House how often men, when they have responsibility placed upon them, show themselves equal to it and develop at once a dormant latent capacity which we had never suspected. I think there is always a vast fund of ability present in this House which we do not appreciate or fairly appraise. And so Mr. KITCHIN, whose conduct in the House had rather been as a casual debater and orator, when he became chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means devoted himself to the duties of that office with an industry and attention to detail and a mastery of the subjects such as we had hardly anticipated from him. He showed himself not only the splendid debater with whom we were familiar from his past performance, but he
became also a master of the business and the work of the House and the committee which had been loaded upon his strong and capable shoulders.
He won the entire confidence and admiration of the House by the efficient manner in which he discharged his complicated and onerous duties. Throughout all his career, I think, perhaps the one characteristic which we all remember most was the warm, ardent good feeling and friendliness which he always showed to others—never impatient, never irritable, never arrogant, always willing to give his time and attention to any request that was made of him. I think we may fairly apply to him the famous lines that Pope addressed to one of the most beloved of English public men:
- Statesman, yet friend to truth, of soul sincere,
- In action faithful and in honor clear,
- Who broke no promise, served no private end,
- Who gained no title and who lost no friend.
Address by Representative Doughton
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: In attempting to offer a few words of tribute to the life and character of our deceased friend and colleague, the late CLAUDE KITCHIN, one of the greatest and noblest men America has ever produced, I feel that I shall be unable by any words that I can command to adequately and fittingly portray his many virtues and accomplishments of head and heart.
In his early manhood, before coming to Congress, he was the leading young lawyer in eastern North Carolina. However, it was not in the legal profession but as a statesman and an orator that his great talents and attainments found their fullest expression.
He was a profound student of the science of government, and mastered as fully as the mind of man could the sacred fundamental principles upon which our Government rests. He specialized in matters of revenue and taxation, and on those subjects there was no higher authority.
At the time the United States declared war upon the Imperial German Government he occupied the responsible position of chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and it was in this responsible and trying position that his great ability shone most resplendently. By his great tact and skill as chairman of that committee and leader on the floor of the House he was able to keep all partisanship in
the background and to have the committee present to the House and the House pass unanimously the bills necessary to raise the billions of dollars of revenue incident to financing the great World War, and at no time during the entire war did a partisan expression fall from his lips, nor, so far as I know or ever heard, was there a single partisan note sounded by any member of the great Committee on Ways and Means. It is very doubtful if any other living man could have accomplished this great purpose in this way.
In his distinguished services of more than 20 years in the House of Representatives he performed a conspicuous part in the enactment of all important legislation. As an orator and debater he was in a class to himself. Hon. Joseph G. Cannon, one of the great men of his day and generation, who was a Member of the House for 40 years and whose political alignments were antagonistic to those of Mr. KITCHIN, said that so far as he knew CLAUDE KITCHIN had no equal as a debater. He brought to the performance of his public duties honesty, fidelity, and boundless courage, as well as a store of information acquired by a lifetime of devoted and untiring application to public matters.
Handsome in person, scholarly in attainments, immaculate and exemplary in character, limitless in courage, lofty in patriotism, possessing every virtue of head, heart, and soul necessary in constituting true greatness, the future historian will find in the life, character, and public services of
CLAUDE KITCHIN a theme concerning which the simple truth will be the highest eulogy.
His great spirit is at rest; the beautiful example of his life will live and prove an abiding inspiration to all coming generations.
Judged by the contributions he made to the welfare of mankind and to the betterment of world conditions, CLAUDE KITCHIN had few equals and no superiors. He sleeps in the soil of his native Commonwealth, the State of North Carolina, which signally honored itself by honoring him.
Address by Representative Garrett
Mr. SPEAKER: The name of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN is written large, honorably, and indelibly in the history of our Republic. For 20 years he was a Representative in the Congress of the United States and had been elected for his eleventh term.
In every period of our Nation's history, beginning in colonial days, the great Commonwealth of North Carolina has furnished men who were not only conspicuous but preeminent as leaders of public thought and doers of fundamental things in governmental activity.
No State has finer traditions. Her soldiers have been illustrious in every war; her statesmen have been leaders in every civic movement. Mr. KITCHIN was a fit representative of all that was best and noblest in those splendid traditions that are the heritage of North Carolina's people, and as such the common heritage of the Nation.
Physically he approached perfection; intellectually he was indisputably superb; spiritually he was clean, and so in his triple structure he typified the beautiful things which men and women everywhere adore and love. Therefore, he is entitled, measured by every standard, to be denominated a great man.
It was my honor to have been associated with him, always pleasantly, and at times quite closely, both personally and in a public capacity, during 18 years of service in this body.
During my first term we had service together on the Committee on Claims of the House. The work of that committee, while not of a character to attract widest attention and bring one in a prominent way before the public eye, is nevertheless a work of the very highest importance to all the people.
That committee must protect the interests of the public against private and ofttimes most appealing importunities, and at the same time must work out the equities as well as the legal rights of individuals. A courage to say both “no” and “yes” is an indispensable essential to fitness for service upon it.
Mr. KITCHIN brought to that service the very highest capacity, a trained legal mind, an almost uncanny intuition for detecting the merits of a question, and resolute courage to deal with the question upon its merits.
It was due to his service upon that committee that he was able to develop and make the great speech upon the French spoliation claims which will be remembered by all those who were then here as one of the most masterly legal arguments made in the American Congress within the last two decades. It may be said in truth to have been the last word upon that vexatious and complicated problem.
Assiduous in all his work, attentive to every detail, major and minor, it was inevitable that he should reach the points of vantage and leadership which he did reach and which were his by right of character and capacity.
In the Sixty-second Congress, when his party had come into power in the House of Representatives, he became a member of the Committee on Ways and Means. In this work he was a most active and aggressive member, aiding in framing the various revenue measures presented by his party during that term and in the formation of what is commonly known as the Underwood tariff bill of 1913.
In the Sixty-fourth Congress he had advanced to the position of ranking majority member of that great committee and became its chairman, and by action of his party caucus became also the titular majority leader in the House. In these positions he continued during that and the succeeding Congress while his party was in power.
In the Sixty-sixth Congress, when his party had gone out of power, he gracefully and graciously declined to permit the use of his name for the minority leadership, yielding that honor to Mr. Champ Clark, of Missouri, who was retiring from the Speakership. These two worked hand in hand during that Congress, and at the succeeding Congress, the great Missourian having “passed over the river to rest under the shade of the trees,” Mr. KITCHIN was unanimously chosen as the minority leader and continued as such to the date of his death.
Had his life been spared and his physical condition been such as to admit of his performing the duties of the position, he would have been again unanimously chosen for this honor during this Congress, and in future years further and even higher honors might have been his reasonable and
confident expectation. He was adored by his party colleagues and respected by his party foes.
It was in the Sixty-fifth Congress—the Great War Congress—while chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, that the heaviest public responsibilities of his active life fell upon and the heaviest drain was made upon his intellectual and physical resources.
Under our Constitution measures affecting the raising of revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. The committee of which he was chairman has jurisdiction of revenue questions, and upon that committee fell the responsibility of financing the war. It was a task more stupendous than we can even yet appreciate. Sums had to be raised that two years before would have been regarded as beyond possible reach. We had to cease thinking in terms of millions and set our minds upon billions.
The Committee on Ways and Means had to sail uncharted seas of finance and with little light of national experience or precedent to guide them. As chairman, Mr. KITCHIN was perforce the master pilot. His place was at the wheel without intermission. It was his burden to improvise new compasses and charts. No greater economic task ever confronted a statesman in the history of humankind. It would have been strange indeed if some errors had not been made, but the voyage was made, the shores of victory and peace were safely reached, and notwithstanding the enormous taxes imposed to meet the enormous expenditures made the Nation emerged from the world holocaust
sound to the core; its integrity unsullied and unblemished; its prosperity undiminished; its honor unstained; its credit at the highest point.
There will be innumerable volumes of history written of that world struggle covering its every phase. Among the most important of these will be the story of its financing, and I make bold to say that in this realm Mr. KITCHIN'S name will take its proper place as a leader, a patriot, and a statesman.
I have spoken almost wholly of Mr. KITCHIN, the statesman. I will not conclude without a few words of CLAUDE KITCHIN, the man. Affable, lovable, loyal, he was a friend to rely upon and to cherish. Even tempered amidst most vexatious and trying conditions, with a winning smile—a smile that would instantly disarm the rising anger of one who threatened controversy—he was able always to keep the keenest debates upon grounds of good humor and within the lines of proper parliamentary dignity. His family relations were ideal. It was a home where dwelt unsullied love and infinite tenderness, wholesome, pure—the very apogee of that fine home idealism which is the glory and guard of American life, American institutions, and American civilization.
We think of him as a great man. I suspect that while his bereaved widow and children do know of him as a great man, yet they do not think of him as such, but that they rather think of him always as a good man, a gallant gentleman, and a constant lover.
Address by Representative Kerr
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE: It is fitting that this great legislative body should pause and pay tribute to the memory of one of its Members. This but illustrates in no uncertain way that we sincerely subscribe to that truism, “No nation can become great which forgets the memory and service of those who contributed to its glory.”
Mr. KITCHIN, my predecessor in this body from the second congressional district in the State of North Carolina, who died on the 31st day of May, 1923, had been chosen by the voters of that district for 11 consecutive terms. His constituents and friends thought and still think that he rendered them and his country sincere and faithful service. This impression was so thoroughly fixed upon that district that in these 22 years of service he was only one time opposed for renomination in his party, and this opposition was negligible.
There are many here in this body who are familiar with his legislative work, and you will speak of these activities. We in our district were justly proud of his accomplishment and of the honor accorded him by his coworkers. His position in this legislative body during the World War gave him an opportunity to render a momentous service to his country, and this you know he did quite well, evincing always a spirit of frankness, stanchness, and sincerity. This spirit is ever manifested in the truly great, and thus he won the respect and
admiration of those who wrought with him at this period of our national life, and I hazard the opinion that few men ever served in this body who were held in higher esteem by his colleagues and coworkers.
What you have said here on this occasion will thrill the hearts of his loved ones, and will make secure the pride of those who are happy to do him honor. I deeply thank you for it, and I know that you will be happier always because of this splendid tribute to one who has passed a little ahead of us into “that city which has foundations, whose maker and builder is God.”
May I not speak briefly of my personal esteem of our friend. In my opinion the outstanding attributes in the character of my distinguished predecessor, gleaned from a personal and political association throughout our lives, were that he abhorred that which was manifestly unjust in our social and political life; he measured a man by his character, what he stood for when the tests of life came. In politics he was as brave as the bravest to resent a wrong, and this he did to the extent that he sometimes appeared to be cruel. This spirit we see in Mr. KITCHIN when he first entered politics. His family have long been the creators and solidifiers of public opinion in my State. Early in his life he realized that one of the finest sections of this Republic was being dominated politically by an inferior race. He, cooperating with other leaders in North Carolina, aroused the “great emperor of the universe, public opinion,” and corrected this condition, and since then no race
question has disturbed the peace and growth of this sovereign State.
Mr. KITCHIN'S constituents discerned clearly that he would be a most useful man to thwart injustice anywhere, and so they sent him here, and you know his attitude always toward that which he thought unjust in our national life. Some of us disagreed with him on some of the positions he took in respect to certain public questions, but we all must agree that Mr. KITCHIN thought he was right, and this spirit made him a dangerous adversary.
Another outstanding characteristic of Mr. KITCHIN, which in my opinion made him most efficient and attractive, was his power to approach and win the confidence of his fellows. This was due to his sincerity and frankness, as simple as a child's. We call it personality; it is indeed a rich endowment, which we rarely see impersonated so well as in the life of Mr. KITCHIN; and then, too, Mr. KITCHIN realized all his life that “man who man would be, must learn to rule the empire of himself.” He was clean in mind and body and had no habit which he could not unfetter with one resolve and one prayer; and thus armed he approached the problems of life.
Abhorring injustice; with a personality so magnetic that men loved to work with, follow, and do his will; the master of himself; no sin nor lust for greed or power could pierce the armor of this great national figure and ever-renowned statesman; his life and work has been a splendid contribution to our glorious history.
Address by Representative Crisp
Mr. SPEAKER: The Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN was—
- A combination and a form indeed,
- Where every god did seem to set his seal
- To give the world assurance of a man.
Mr. KITCHIN was every inch a man. Created with a splendid physique, endowed with a marvelous intellect, gifted to a most remarkable degree as an orator and debater, and possessing a loving nature and magnetic personality, he soon took high rank in this august body, where every man must work out his own destiny. At his death he was the leader of his party in the House.
Mr. KITCHIN was a man of force and conviction, and nothing could swerve him from being true to what he conceived to be right. When once he had decided upon his course, no threat nor intimidation nor the allurements of personal aggrandizement or preferment would cause him to hesitate for an instant, but he pursued the even tenor of his way, always being true to his God, his country, his duty as he saw it himself, and to his intellect.
- His life was gentle, and the elements
- So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up
- And say to all the world, “This was a man!”
He was often misjudged, frequently villified and abused by the press, but CLAUDE KITCHIN was too big and brave a man to be influenced by such methods. My relations with him were exceedingly
close and intimate, and we often discussed public criticism made of him, and I know he never harbored unkind feelings or resentments against his critics. He towered above them.
Mr. KITCHIN'S private life was exemplary and his character always even above suspicion. He hated sham and hypocrisy, despised ostentation and display, and, from the depths of his soul, believed that worth and character alone made the man. He was without guile, was sympathetic, tender, and loving. He was hospitable and generous and was always the truest of friends.
On April 19, 1920, in this Hall, just as he had finished an able and earnest speech opposing a joint resolution providing for the United States to make a separate peace treaty with Germany, Mr. KITCHIN suffered a paralytic stroke from which he never recovered. From that day until his death he was a constant and intense sufferer, but he never complained. He was the bravest of the brave. He was hopeful, optimistic, and encouraging to his loved ones and friends. He fought the ravages of his affliction with courage and fortitude, but his efforts were in vain, and on May 31, 1923, he fell asleep and was gathered to his fathers. Nature never made a nobler man.
Notwithstanding his splendid public achievements and the high place he won in the history of his country as one of its greatest statesmen, CLAUDE KITCHIN was still greater in his home. When 19 years of age he married Miss Kate Mills, of North Carolina, who until his death was his devoted wife and helpmate. God blessed the union with nine
children and seven grandchildren, and Mr. KITCHIN was the center of attraction of this beautiful Christian home. He was never so happy as when surrounded by his loved ones. In his home he became a perfect child and romped and played with his children and grandchildren like one of them.
In all my acquaintance with public men I have never known a greater than CLAUDE KITCHIN. He was my friend. I loved him sincerely, and I never expect to look upon his like again.
- Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere,
- In action faithful and in honor clear;
- Who broke no promise, served no private end,
- Who gained no title, and who lost no friend,
- Ennobled by himself, by all approved.
Address by Representative Longworth
Mr. SPEAKER: It is a matter of genuine regret to me that I must speak without preparation, but the demands upon my time have been so great within the past few days that it has been simply impossible for me to try to say in carefully chosen language what from my heart I would like to say on such an occasion as this. However, no man could understand better that my excuse is a good one than he whose memory we honor here to-day. No one knew better than he the manifold duties and responsibilities that must inevitably rest upon the majority leader of this House, not only by day but by night as well.
Mr. KITCHIN was a great leader. He had the qualities which a leader must possess. He was courageous, courteous, efficient, quick to think and quick to act, and he possessed in superabundance the two qualities which my very limited experience leads me to believe essential in a floor leader, good nature and an abundant sense of humor.
No matter what other qualifications a majority leader in this House may possess, it seems to me that these are absolutely essential at least to his comfort and to his peace of mind. In addition to being a great leader upon the floor of this House, he was chairman of a great committee in times which demanded greatness of leadership. Fortunately for myself, I was closely associated with
CLAUDE KITCHIN in the framing of all the various revenue measures which were passed immediately preceding and during the war. When the war was being carried on, we were members together of a subcommittee to determine sources of taxation, to comb the country throughout to find ways of raising the money necessary to effectively carry on the war. There were few daylight hours for months at a time when we were not together, and frequently the clock had struck midnight before we separated for the day. I do not believe anyone knows better the processes of mind of the man whose memory we here honor than I do. I have never known a man more intensely patriotic, with an eye more sincere to the service of his country, than CLAUDE KITCHIN was in those trying days. We were there together, not as a Democrat and a Republican, but as members of the American party. I never knew Mr. KITCHIN to attempt to take any sort of partisan advantage in the consideration and formulation of that measure which raised more than $8,000,000,000 in revenue. He was bitterly attacked by the press at times, more particularly the eastern press, as being a reckless man, a narrow-minded man, a radical man. I know precisely to the contrary. CLAUDE KITCHIN was not one of those who would proscribe wealth as an evil in itself and through taxation seek to destroy it. He was not one of those who believed that the taxing power should be used to punish people or to change the social order. He believed that the proper method of taxation in this country was that which would produce revenue with the least
damage to legitimate property and to business in general. He pursued the profiteer during the war most sternly, but he did not seek to confiscate property legitimately acquired. The public did not know then and the public never has known how nearly we came in that Congress in the Ways and Means Committee to confiscation of all incomes above a certain amount, and the man who stood most vigorously in opposition to that system of confiscation, who did more to defeat it than anyone else, was the then chairman of that committee, Mr. KITCHIN.
Mr. Speaker, CLAUDE KITCHIN'S good nature and his sense of humor were always with him. I never heard him in debate or in private conversation apply a harsh or coarse epithet to any man, and yet he was, among all I have known in this House, the most dangerous man to meet in debate. The memory of my association with him will always be one of the pleasant recollections of my life, and particularly will the memory of our close and enduring friendship abide with me always.
Address by Representative Weaver
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE: As a Member of the delegation from North Carolina I can not tell you how much we appreciate the kind remarks from those who live without that State in regard to this great son of North Carolina. North Carolina has produced many unusual men, and among that number will ever be known the name of CLAUDE KITCHIN, who represented it in Congress so many years in so distinguished a manner. When I first knew Mr. KITCHIN he was at the full heyday of his powers. I came to Congress in April, 1917, with the beginning of the war. He was then chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House, and I have no doubt that the heavy duties which fell upon him, with his other colleagues of that committee, planted the fatal shaft. During day and night I know the membership of that committee was at work to provide the revenues to win that great war. During all the time I knew him here he exhibited all the elements and qualities of a great leader. His overflowing good humor, his wonderful knowledge of matters pertaining to the revenues and to tariffs, made him indeed an adversary worthy of any man's steel. But, gentlemen, I shall not elaborate these matters. Mr. KITCHIN came of a strong family of men. It was rather unusual, but at one time he and his brother both were leaders in this House. The Hon. W. W. Kitchin, his brother, is a superb
man, and only the failure of his health keeps him from being an outstanding leader in my native State. He retired from Congress voluntarily to become the Governor of North Carolina. The father of CLAUDE KITCHIN, too, was a great man. He was a dynamic force in North Carolina. He was known from one end of the State to the other for the vigor of his intellect and the sturdiness with which he fought for his convictions. Other members of the family have been distinguished. Sometimes when I see these men succumb at comparatively early ages it seems to me that they have been consumed possibly by their own vigor of intellect and the exercise of their superb powers. CLAUDE KITCHIN was a man that North Carolina loved. He had behind him not only this great family, but he had behind him as a background a great ancestry. You know Oliver Wendell Holmes has said that our destinies are determined 100 years before we are born. CLAUDE KITCHIN was linked directly in his lineage with men who helped to make this Government. He knew what “master laid its keel, what workman wrought its ribs of steel.” His ancestors had helped to lay down the structure of this Republic, and their conceptions of its character and fundamentals had come down to him. I merely point this out as probably accounting for some of the opinions which CLAUDE KITCHIN held. He had studied the structure of this Government. It is needless for me to recall to you the fact that when the thirteen original Colonies won their independence they were independent sovereignties. North Carolina was an independent
sovereignty and complete in all its powers as such, and so was the Commonwealth of Virginia and all the others. We joined hands with Massachusetts and New York, and when our independence was achieved we were sovereign in every respect, and even when we came to the forming of the Constitution there were great patriots like Patrick Henry, whose voice only a few years before had rung out to stir the people against English tyranny, who opposed the ratification of the Constitution with all his vigor, because he felt, as he said, it was but a change of masters. And it was this feeling of sovereignty that has lived with us in North Carolina.
To create the Federal Government it was necessary to concede a portion of this sovereignty and it was most carefully examined, because to-day North Carolina has less than 1 per cent of foreign population. These ideas of government have lived in Virginia and other original States and they were imbibed by KITCHIN as a child. I have heard him in forensic oratory here with the distinguished gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Longworth], and I wish to say here now that I have heard Mr. KITCHIN speak of Mr. Longworth as a very prince of men. I have heard him say in his dealings with Mr. Longworth that he had always found him honorable and upright and a worthy opponent in debate. I know the feeling which he entertained toward him. It was but natural that Mr. KITCHIN should feel strongly on some questions. In considering the tariff, for instance, he felt that the Federal Government, which had been created by the States, in the
exercise of its taxing power should only exercise it for the purpose of raising revenue to support the Government. These ideas came to him naturally and he fought for them vigorously, and many of the great speeches he made in this House were upon that question. He had a great ancestry behind him, and most nobly did he represent that ancestry here. I shall not undertake now to analyze his intellectual powers; others have done it better than I; but as a debater, I can say that since I have been in Congress I have certainly seen none superior to him. I will not say he was the best debater in this Congress. That might be taken as flattery, but I will say that there were none who surpassed him in rough-and-tumble debate upon the floor of this House. But he was always kindly. If his enemy was wounded, he was wounded by the impact of the blow and not because he had fired an arrow tipped with poison. He was the very personification of good humor and friendliness toward the other side in those great debates which were conducted here, and I know of no man whom the Republican membership have honored and loved more than this distinguished son of North Carolina. His life was as pure as a woman's. Never was there a whisper; not one. It brought him strength. “His strength was as the strength of 10, because his heart was pure.” It is an honor to have such a man from your native State. He was a man of great heart and soul. It takes something more than intellectual strength to make a great leader. KITCHIN had intellectual power, but with it he had that dimension of soul and purity of character that
made him essentially a leader anywhere. He must have had a wonderful mother—I have talked about his father. I believe in mothers, and I think she must have been wonderful. You know somebody has said that God could not be everywhere, so He gave us mothers. I know his home life to be as happy as could be. He must have been a splendid husband and a most tender father. We mourn with those, his loved ones, here to-day. We saw him as we might view a great spreading oak in the forest, vigorous and massive, and when his untimely death came we realized that a great gap was left that none can fill. But we sympathize with those who were nearest to him. He was doubtless human, as we all are, and had his prejudices and all those things, but his life had its start in the heights and the stream that emanated from it was always clear and beautiful, although at times it may have been turbulent.
It always fructified and brought love and happiness wherever it went. We have missed him in this House just as we have missed that great old Missourian, Champ Clark. When he went away it seemed hard for a long time to realize that he had gone. So we miss this great colleague of ours. He was human; we are all human. Doubtless he had his prejudices and passions, his likes and dislikes, but he loved his fellow man, hated wrong and loved the right, and when we come to measure him and appraise his worth, we know—
- The elements
- So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up
- And say to all the world, “This was a man!”
Address by Representative Moore
Mr. SPEAKER: Those who knew our friend will always remember his fine intellectual gifts, which were so often manifested here; his notable achievements in this arena, his capacity for winning the warm and unshaken friendship of supporters and opponents alike, the ideal relation in which he stood to those of his own immediate private circle.
I shall always primarily think of him as a man in whose life predominated the element of uprightness of character, difficult to exactly define or even describe, but, nevertheless, fundamental in importance and essential to worth-while results. There was no man who adhered more intuitively and consistently to the highest standards of conduct. From the course which his conscience approved no possibility of defeat or loss, no prospect of adversity could deflect him in any degree whatever. To him might be applied the inscription over the grave of a Georgian who served for years in this body and in a larger sphere. On the monument to Alexander H. Stephens at Crawfordsville are quoted the words uttered by that statesman in a memorable speech at Augusta: “I am afraid of nothing on earth, or about the earth, or under the earth, except to do wrong. The path of duty I shall always endeavor to tread, fearing no evil and dreading no consequences.” And then there is written, “Here sleep the remains of one who dared
to tell the people they were wrong when he believed so, and who never intentionally deceived a friend or betrayed an enemy.”
From at least one intimate conversation with Mr. KITCHIN, after he was stricken, I came to know that his conscience was true as the needle to the pole and his character steadfast as the mountains because of his unswerving reliance, not in a dogmatic or formal sense but with his whole mind and heart, upon the principles of the religion which he professed. In the eloquent concluding passage of a work which now has its place among the classics of literature it is said, “But whatever unlooked for events the future may have in store, Jesus will never be surpassed. His worship will unceasingly renew its youth, His story will call forth endless tears, His sufferings will subdue the noblest hearts, all ages will proclaim that among the sons of men no one has been born who is greater than He.” To our friend the founder of our religion was this, but he was far beyond this conception of the brilliant French agnostic. He was the Divine Leader whom no man can go astray in following.
If our friend were here to-day, can it be doubted that he would tell us that the world more than all else now needs a saturation of Christian principles; that never was it more essential than now, when the fabric of civilization is menaced, that those principles should be universally applied, and that Christian character is not less important in Government than it is in the home and in the individual life? If here, would he not tell us that, in the midst of the prevailing demoralization, it is the clear duty
of all, and surely the duty of those who are charged officially with guarding the safety of the Republic, to serve with unselfishness and courage, not flouting any law but observing all laws; not expressing prejudice and passion in their work but working for the good of all, and day by day trying to maintain the right as they are enabled to see it?
Thus he lived. His was an unstained and useful life. It was as beautiful as the sunshine with which nature has glorified this perfect day on which we commemorate him. His was a peaceful passing. To him death was like—
- The shepherd serenely leading home his flock.
- Under the planet at the evening's end.
Address by Representative Lyon
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: On May 31, 1923, the soul of our beloved colleague and friend, Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, passed into “the great beyond.” His death was not unexpected to those of us who knew of his declining health, but its coming was nevertheless a great shock and brought grief and sorrow to the entire State of North Carolina and to the thousands elsewhere who knew and admired that splendid, courageous, Christian character.
His place will be hard to fill, for as a leader in this body he was without a peer, as debater he had few equals, and his courage and ability were so outstanding as to win the love and confidence of his political friends and the respect and esteem of those who differed from him on political questions.
He sprang from a distinguished family. His father, W. H. Kitchin, was a Member of this body, representing his district in the Forty-sixth Congress. His brother, Hon. W. W. Kitchin, also served with distinction in this body from the Fifty-fifth to the Sixtieth Congresses, inclusive, retiring voluntarily to become Governor of North Carolina.
The fidelity and character of CLAUDE KITCHIN was soon recognized by his colleagues and he became
the great leader of his party in this body and served in this capacity with distinction in the trying days just before and during the Great War. His loyalty and devotion to duty at that time was a priceless asset to the administration and an inspiration to the boys in uniform. During this stormy period he received his death wound, for his increasing toil, tremendous responsibility, and doubtless sleepless nights (for he hated war) so undermined his splendid physique as to enable the disease that finally caused his death to fasten itself upon him to such an extent that he was unable to throw it off. He died as a result of his devotion to duty and loyalty to country, as much so as if he had received his death wound on the fields of France, facing the shot and shell from German guns.
It was not my good fortune to know him at his best, for when I came here in 1921 he had already been stricken, but I early fell under his charm, for to know him was to love him. The fearlessness with which he faced the fact of his declining health and the courage with which he fought to throw off disease was a marvel to me, and when I realized that in spite of this he took an active interest in the questions before Congress and frequently directed the minority from his sick bed I could but exclaim, “There lives a man.”
He was buried in the little town of Scotland Neck, his home town that he loved so well, in the presence of thousands of sorrowing friends who had
gathered from every section of the State and from every walk of life to pay their last homage to him whose life and character must have been the inspiration of the poet when he wrote:
- So live, that when thy summons comes to join
- The innumerable caravan, which moves
- To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
- His chamber in the silent halls of death,
- Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
- Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
- By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
- Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
- About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Address by Representative Bulwinkle
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: During its course in history North Carolina has produced quite a number of men who attained national prominence. Many able men have represented North Carolina in this House, but it can safely be said that CLAUDE KITCHIN was the equal, if not the superior, of any man from North Carolina who ever sat in the House of Representatives. He was one of the greatest of debaters. It always seemed to me that it was a genuine pleasure for him to engage in debate, and the political adversary who was so foolhardy as to ask him a question, and interruptions were always welcomed, was generally subdued. The work CLAUDE KITCHIN performed as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee during the World War showed to the country his ability as a statesman.
In private life he was one of the cleanest men I have ever known, and it has been well said that his life was as pure as a pure woman.
I remember the first time I ever saw Mr. KITCHIN, 22 years ago, when he made a political speech in Gaston, my home county. I thought then and I still think that it was one of the best political speeches I ever heard. Upon several occasions it has been my privilege to sit in the gallery and listen to him in some of his wonderful debates on the subject he was master of, the tariff.
When I first came to Congress, in April, 1921, Mr. KITCHIN asked me to come to his office. He told me that while he did not care to advise me as to what course I should pursue, it was necessary for any Member to work if he wished to succeed; and no matter what committee one is on he should attend every meeting and take an active part in the work of that committee. He further told me that it was nearly three years after he was elected before he made a speech on the floor of the House, and said that one should never speak unless he was fully prepared on his subject.
Many times during the Sixty-seventh Congress it was regretted by Members that Mr. KITCHIN was not able to be present on the floor of the House, and our constant hope was that he would be returned to his good health. He suffered much during his illness, but his customary cheerfulness was ever present when greeted by his friends.
He died on the 31st day of May, 1923, at Wilson, N. C., and was buried at Scotland Neck, N. C., on June 1, 1923. The sorrow of North Carolina was great. Men of all classes mourned his death, and his memory as a strong, courageous statesman will live forever.
Address by Representative Abernethy
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: It is well we pause from our busy surroundings to pay suitable tribute to one admired and respected by all and loved by those who had the good fortune to come into closest contact with him.
My State sorrows with the Nation to-day as this august legislative body halts from its tasks to honor a great leader and tribune of the people.
Just after the sun goes down the heavens glow with the rich coloring of the dying day, telling the story of the great light which never wanes. The majesty and glory of all this causes us to realize that when a great and good man “falls to sleep” the sky of this world is luminous long after he is gone.
It was the Dutch painter who taught his pupils that “the end of the day is the proof of the picture.” It is when the dusk comes on that the blotting out of the details bring out the perfect design of the artist. While our friend and comrade is gone, the influence of his upright walk, his able, earnest, conscientious, and faithful public service remains to guide us in matters of state.
It is good and sweet to live, but as has been beautifully said, it is “much sweeter and better when we know that what we call death is merely a letting go of what can no longer serve us, a going out from that which is but a prison door, and when
everything that is mortal about us will be swallowed up in the more abundant life.” Such was the going of our friend. The life of him of whom we speak so tenderly to-day serves to remind us that the high-minded, manly, duty-doing men are the chiefest need of our Nation to-day.
What higher tribute could be paid a public servant than the editorial utterance of the leading daily paper in the city of Washington, although differing with him politically, when it said, among other things, when he died:
He was above reproach in his record and commanded the respect of all, even when few were in agreement with him * * *. Throughout his career he so bore himself that none could doubt his sincerity.
In this day when there is so much confusion, so much unrest, when integrity and high purpose seems lacking in so many quarters, how great is the need of courageous and manly men who are above reproach and whose sincerity can not be doubted.
Sincerity, thou first of virtues, let no mortal leave thy onward path, although the earth should gape, and from the gulf of hell destruction rise, to take dissimulation's winding way.
So, comrades and friends, the upright life and daily walk and noble purpose of CLAUDE KITCHIN should be the inspiration for men in all walks of life, especially to those whom the people have honored by positions of place and trust.
Peace to his ashes.
Address by Representative Hammer
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: As I came into this Chamber this morning a gentleman who knew CLAUDE KITCHIN well said to me that we needed more KITCHINS in public life, especially in the House of Representatives; that the prestige of the House had passed to the other end of the Capitol; that only a few remain of the great characters that formerly made the House of Representatives the greatest legislative assembly upon earth; that if we had a dozen men of the type of Mr. KITCHIN in this House to-day we would shake the country; that the daily proceedings of the House of Representatives would be restored to the front pages of the great newspapers of the country, as they were 30 years ago. The belief prevails in some quarters at least that the type of men who are in the House have deteriorated.
I said to my friend the reason was probably due not so much to the type of the Members of the House as to the rules of the House and the greater number of Members than in the Senate; that only those who are the most aggressive and courageous came to the front, and too often is it the case when a young Member attempts to exert himself, even though it be sometimes in a crude way, that it is quite commonly believed to be and said to be at times—although I have never discovered it—an affront for him to undertake to inject his opinions
on questions pertaining to public affairs. Especially is it claimed is this the case when he differs from those that have had so much longer service and who are so much better qualified to discuss matters of greatest importance.
Be that as it may, this outstanding fact is true, that this House has produced few, if any, men who had the qualifications for leadership and the legislative activities to fill the position so long held by the departed chieftain of the forces on this side of the House. A leading spirit in the Nation's councils for nearly a quarter of a century has passed to his reward.
CLAUDE KITCHIN was first elected a Member of the Fifty-seventh Congress, his term of office beginning March 4, 1901, 20 days before his thirty-second birthday, his brother William W. Kitchin having served two terms before, and during his sixth term was elected governor of his State and was one of the State's wisest and ablest governors.
At first Mr. KITCHIN was not assigned to important committees, but his ability, industry, and thoroughness so attracted attention it was not many years until he received the reward his true worth merited, and those who looked upon him as an eager, impetuous, stalwart young fellow, a son of that grim, courageous old warrior, the late Capt. W. H. Kitchin, familiarly known as “Buck” Kitchin, who had likewise served in Congress one term, the Forty-seventh, and a notable figure he was, of marked and conspicuous ability, and whose “tomahawk” was as famous in North Carolina as was Ben Tillman's “pitchfork” in South Carolina.
Yet if there were critics they were not long in conceding that Mr. KITCHIN'S judgment was mature despite his enthusiasm and impulsiveness. His strong features and manly bearing commanded attention; his eyes reflected his kind, gentle spirit, and the sympathy and unfailing interest in men of every kind.
He soon stepped across the threshold of greatness and was a captain on the towers which overlooked human endeavor.
He wore his honors modestly. His rugged strength, characteristic of his family, was lavished in the cause of great principles, his capacity of concentration and ability to see and think clearly, coupled with his native gift of biting phrase in his philippics during the long years of fighting in the forefront against graft and hypocrisy, fraud and corruption, stood him well, but was never used for self-exploitation, for which he had no time, energy, or desire. These gave him weapons for his steady, fixed purpose of accomplishments, the public good.
He did not waste words, but went directly at a subject. He saw errors and shortcomings, but his opposition to wrong and defense of right were fought with reason and persuasion, occasionally only was his fiery invective, irony, and ridicule hurled at the opposition.
The bitterest foe to him was the standpatter. The sin of sins he loathed was reaction. The goal he sought was equality of opportunity, equal rights for all, and special privileges to none.
His matchless, undaunted courage and innate honesty, which he possessed in a high degree—but
even more unusual than these, he had the quality of persuasiveness, ready wit, and repartee—a superior knowledge of men and measures made him the readiest and greatest and most effective debater that was ever a Member of the House of Representatives of the American Congress. He always started somewhere and you knew where he was going and wanted to go with him, and in his greatest efforts disaster awaited him who dared attempt to impede or interrupt his progress in the journey, or sought to delay or hinder his chariot. He believed mightily and fought hard and with terrific force, especially when he had at heart a great cause, but always fairly, never falling into the delusion of infallibility.
Known personally or by reputation by virtually every American interested in public affairs in his long career in public life, and they, too, unite in spirit with the Members of this House, while not present in person, this day in paying tribute to his memory as the great outstanding figure of his generation in the House of Representatives.
He realized that there are thousands of Republicans who are really Democrats, and thousands of Democrats who are really Republicans, but held to the anchorage of ancient party shibboleths and allegiance by habit, sentiment, tradition, and prejudice. This knowledge enabled him to win notable victories.
But there are limitations to the strongest and most enduring constitutions as well as upon the intellectual processes. The limitations are inexorably defined beyond which boundaries his mind,
one of the greatest that has figured in the arena of public life in the Nation's history, could not go, and was compelled to yield to nature's laws and demands, and his work must be taken up by others, and may that divine hand of Providence guide and direct them.
Constant, clean, clear, hard thinking, even with as sturdy conscience and swift and accurate mind as CLAUDE KITCHIN'S, will sap and undermine and finally destroy the strongest and most vigorous body.
It is fortunate to have a rugged, strong body and superior, unsurpassed intellect and charge the heights and up and over the very walls of opposition and win victory over wrong.
With all his superb courage and indomitable energy and honesty of purpose in scaling the ramparts of evil, fraud, hypocrisy, and corruption, the boundary line of human limitations was reached and physical endurance came to a standstill.
With tenacity of purpose he remained personally in charge as leader of his party in the House of Representatives, performing his duties in an unexcelled manner until his impaired constitution compelled him to forego these responsibilities.
When his ailment did not yield to treatment he went to his home in Halifax County in his own beloved State, where to him the flowers were more beautiful, the birds sang the old sweet songs he heard in his boyhood days when life was in its spring, where the grass grew greener, and the starry vaults in heaven's firmament were nearer.
For a time he seemed to improve, and there appeared reason for his unswerving conviction that recovery would come.
Even when death appeared inevitable and he was removed to a hospital at Wilson, N. C., his intrepid spirit fought with a display of courage and endurance that amazed those about him.
His wife, who was Miss Kate Mills, a daughter of Prof. and Mrs. Luther R. Mills, and his children, who were likewise devoted to him, were his greatest sustaining force during his long months of illness which ended in his death May 31, 1923.
His career on earth is ended; his pure, gentle spirit has taken its flight.
I have been greatly impressed with the high tribute paid Mr. KITCHIN, not only by the members of the North Carolina delegation but also by the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Green], the gentleman from Massachusetts, the present Speaker of the House, as well as the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Longworth], and others; the remarks of the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Moore] as to the religious side of Mr. KITCHIN'S life were most fitting and appropriate.
Let us not lose sight of the most important fact, that overshadowing the glory of his intellectual attainments CLAUDE KITCHIN'S goodness was better than his greatness. He left such an impress upon his times that the activities in which he was a leader form an important part of his country's history, but the greatest thing that could be said of him is that he wore the white flower of a blameless, spotless life, a moral and Christian character
above reproach. He never yielded to the alluring vices which sometimes so beset and often is the cause of the ultimate downfall and final destruction of those in high places. He never forgot the teachings of a good mother. He lived above suspicion. He walked the heights. His religious convictions were deep, being a consistent member of the Baptist denomination, the church of his parents and his family connections. He not only believed with the Bible but practiced its teachings and believed in the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures and the fulfillment thereof. He believed in the resurrection and worshipped not the sleeping Christ in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, but the living Christ who rose from the dead and sits on the right hand of the Father, and who will return to judge the world. He was not a modernist, but believed in the divinity of Christ and the virgin birth, and that the Savior of mankind lives forever with His Saints to reign.
- Earth that has taken so many, first and last,
- Of kings and men and lovers, now takes one more
- King among men and lover of men, who passed
- Too soon the heavy door.
- Leaving behind no malice, only grief,
- That he who loved so much the changing year,
- When the new spring comes in with flower and leaf,
- Will be no longer here.
- Only regret for the courageous word
- He will not speak, as he so long has spoken,
- And memory for a step we know, not heard,
- A sturdy lance, now broken.
Address by Representative Rainey
Mr. SPEAKER: I desire to add my brief tribute to the memory of my friend. I served with him in Congress for 18 consecutive years. During all that period of time I was closely associated with him. During the major part of that time we lived at the same hotel. We belonged to the same committee, the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives. He ranked just ahead of me on that committee. We both belonged to the same political party. I was therefore far more closely connected with him throughout the period of 18 years of service than I was with any other Member of Congress; we lived together; we served on the same committee; we thought along the same lines.
He was one of the greatest debaters I have ever known. He was a master of the art of debate, good-humored, convincing, and forceful always. He was courageous indeed who dared to interrupt him on the floor of the House, but he courted interruptions. He yielded gracefully always to questions, and his answers were always given with a smile and were crushing and conclusive.
He was a master orator. I never heard a greater orator in the House of Representatives. He possessed a high degree of personal magnetism, and his splendid physique, his grace of gesture, his perfect articulation, his attractive manner and methods placed him well in the front rank of the English-speaking orators of his generation.
He was a kind husband and father, a good citizen, devoted always to the highest ideals, and an honest man. His habits of life were always the very best. I do not think he ever harbored an impure thought. He was an earnest Christian gentleman.
In the great forest little trees may fall and they are never missed, but when a giant oak falls it leaves a void which takes a hundred years to fill. When CLAUDE KITCHIN passed over to the unknown shore he left a place in his community, in his State, and in the Nation which is still vacant and which can not be filled for many years of time.
Address by Representative Collier
Mr. SPEAKER: It was my good fortune to have been intimately acquainted with Mr. KITCHIN. I met him in 1909 at the first session of the Sixty-first Congress. This acquaintance soon ripened into a strong, sincere, and lasting friendship. For five or six years we lived at the same hotel, ate at the same table, and scarcely a day passed during the sessions of Congress that one was not in the room of the other. He was my adviser as well as my friend. He was the best informed man on the subject of taxation I have ever known.
In conversations with him I learned more about the basic principles of taxation than I ever gathered from the books. I shall never forget the impression made on me when I first heard Mr. KITCHIN speak in this House. The House was discussing the Payne bill, when Mr. KITCHIN was recognized for an hour. Never in my life did I hear a speech that pleased me more. His knowledge of his subject was profound, his figures of speech superb, his logic unanswerable, and his repartee irresistible. At the conclusion of the hour, when his time had expired, some Member arose and asked unanimous consent that the gentleman from North Carolina might be permitted to proceed until he had concluded his remarks.
Though not even a member of the committee which had brought in the bill, and though this permission had been given only to the majority
and minority leaders, the request was granted, and for over two hours a crowded House gave Mr. KITCHIN its undivided attention and at the conclusion of his remarks an ovation seldom given to any man on any occasion.
Mr. KITCHIN was the greatest orator and the most powerful debater I have ever known in this House. Partisan in an intense degree, yet generous and fair, his deadliest blows were always delivered with a smile which robbed them of over half their sting. He courted interruption; and in every instance his retorts were so ready, so apt, so discomfiting to an adversary that in later years he was generally permitted to proceed without interruption.
I have seen him in a hundred verbal tourneys with the leaders of the opposition, and never once have I seen him unhorsed, but always he rode a victor from the field. No man ever presided over the Committee on Ways and Means who had more profound knowledge and more thorough comprehension of all subjects brought before that committee than Mr. KITCHIN. This statement can well be illustrated by a remark made to me by a prominent Member of the majority party who is to-day a ranking member on the committee.
We were holding hearings on the perplexing and intricate administrative features of the income-tax bill, and experts from the Treasury Department were explaining in detail complicated sections relating to the collection of the income and excess-profits tax in reference to corporations. Mr. KITCHIN would frequently interrupt the expert with
a question which would of itself clarify and explain the complicated section, and this new Member leaned over to me and said, “I have received more real information and understanding from Mr. KITCHIN'S questions than I have from the expert's explanation.”
No Member of this House ever possessed the confidence as well as the affection of Members on both sides of this Chamber in a more remarkable degree than Mr. KITCHIN. As great as Mr. KITCHIN was as an orator, as powerful as he was a debater, as profound as he was as a logician, these qualities pale and sink into insignificance before those higher qualities of heart and mind which go to make the man and Christian gentleman.
His home life was ideal. His faith was founded on a rock. His private life was as pure, as spotless, as unsullied as the everlasting snows upon the mountain peaks. Brilliant, generous, big-hearted, big-brained, pure and honorable in all his dealings, CLAUDE KITCHIN represented to me the highest type of statesman and the best all-around man with whom I have had the good fortune to have become intimately acquainted since I have been in public life.
As I sat here to-day listening to the tributes of my colleagues upon the life and character of our great Democratic leader, who in the very prime of his manhood has passed away to the great beyond, the memory of a speech I read long ago, by one whom I can not now recall, comes to me and I paraphrase as best I can what he said upon a similar occasion.
When death comes to ripe old age our sorrow is tempered by the reflection that threescore years and ten is the brief span allotted for man's usefulness here on earth. When childhood, tender, innocent childhood, answers the Reaper's call, we draw some consolation from the knowledge that life's trials and temptations and hardships have been spared those little ones, and secure from even the knowledge of evil they peacefully and quietly sleep in their little graves. But when the end comes to one in the prime of his manhood, in the zenith of his usefulness, with all his wonderful faculties and power of service to his country and to his fellow man; with a happy home, surrounded by faithful friends, a loving and devoted wife, and little ones to cluster about his knees and encircle themselves around his heart; when the end comes to such a man our hearts grow rebellious, we can not understand, and we are tempted to question the wisdom of such a dispensation. To such test to our faith we can only bow our heads in humble submission to the inevitable, comforted and consoled by the divine assurance that He doeth all things well.
These beautiful thoughts impressed me when I read them years ago. I quote only from memory, and, I know, inaccurately; yet they seem to me singularly appropriate to-day, when we mourn over the loss of one whose useful life meant so much to his family, his country, and his friends:
- There is no death; we fall asleep
- To waken where they never weep.
- We close our eyes on pain and sin,
- Our breath ebbs out but life flows in.
And though a cherished friend has passed away, a familiar face is missing, and a once loved voice is hushed—
- Yet through it all God is loving.
- Of the sad might have been ’mid our tears,
- God knew all about it, yet took him away from the oncoming years.
- God knows all about those who love him,
- And how bitter that parting must be,
- Yet through it all God is loving
- And knows so much better than we.
Address by Representative Collins
Mr. SPEAKER: It is my desire to add but a single flower of unqualified and sincere, respectful praise to the bouquet of tributes that have been paid to the Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late the Democratic leader of this House. I did not know Mr. KITCHIN in the heyday of his life, in the busy zenith of his career. It was not my pleasure to serve this Congress as one of his fellow workers, for upon my entrance as a Member of the House his noble mind and his great heart were bearing the load of a sick body. His gigantic labors to carry into effect his legislative ideals for human beings had called too much upon his mortal strength, and he had answered not wisely but too well. But I had formed my opinion of this man; had carried within me for a long time an ever-mounting respect for him as a valiant crusader for the right. I believed him to stand preeminent among the humanity of this age as an example of that type of manhood which has existed since the beginning of time—manhood which stands rigidly but mercifully for the right, a martyr if need be for those ideals to which his soul was pledged. Nor was there ever the least falling of my regard for him after I met and served awhile with him here in the lower House. To me, a new Member, he was helpful, friendly, magnanimous. He took of his already pitifully meager strength to write me commending my words on a measure
before the House. This readiness to bestow praise and encouragement was characteristic of his love for his brothers, of his bigness, his unwillingness to keep to himself any commendation he had for another's work.
He was a man who saw beneath the seemingly placid stream of living. Of courage himself, he admired courage. But he well understood that this universal love for the recital of courageous deeds has caused the pages of history to be filled with tales of war and bloody deeds. He knew that the real progress of the world is truly measured in the chapters that chronicle the peace times. He must have believed that the greatness and the majesty of empires was not estimated by battles and by pestilences, nor measured alone by man's power of clever destructiveness. He saw beyond the brainless magnificence of the body of the fighting force of the world into the deep, the infinite soul of her humanity. And, true to his vision, he stood up at a perilously trying time and pleaded with his fellows to serve humanity other than by battling.
He made his stand with courage and with high resolve, knowing that he would receive the darts flung by the hysteria of an upset people. He was ready even to suffer the insinuation of being cowardly and disloyal to keep his Nation on the path which he felt her destiny demanded. No one thing in the multifarious duties of life is harder than to stand against a determined majority of fellow workers, to stand out for conscience’ sake against arguments that seem to all those about one as
invincible. So well known and so well respected was CLAUDE KITCHIN'S habit of acting according to his conscience, which had never become deafened to the echoes of right and wrong, that when he rose on that memorable occasion—when the arena of this Chamber was charged and surcharged with the overwrought excitement of those within—to speak against a declaration of war, friend and foe, politically speaking, listened to his marvelous flow of oratory with love in their breasts for the man himself. It seems to me I can see him now; and I wish I could have heard the speech, which will ever stand forth among the addresses of great men as a cry from an honorable man defending his God-given right to act according to his beliefs, a cry of almost hopeless hope that he might bring over his hearers to his view.
There are those among us who often speak on questions of vital national issue merely for effect (sometimes we may all do that); there are those others who may speak blunderingly and crudely but feelingly and truthfully; but there are men, backed by the urge of responsibility and the knowledge of the needs of human beings, who can speak and pour out through their utterances the very life, the soul, within them. So spoke CLAUDE KITCHIN, and his message, clothed in the supernal robes of perfect diction, sent forth from the lips of a splendidly physical Demosthenes, lines out the picture of the man. The decision went against him, and in the mortal fight that followed to keep up the dynamos for the gigantic driving of the war machine he not only took his place in the ranks of the
majority but led ahead. Patriotism, which is only love of country, can be served no more loyally than he served it when he fought for his principles—that the powers of life and not those of death should govern the earth; nor more loyally when he put every sinew of his brain and heart at the command of his country when she chose what he thought the darker stand. Great men live and great men have to die. And when they pass, their ashes enrich the soil that strives to nurture yet greater men.
The rich loam of his congressional body, shaping and growing the powers of men who shall serve that “inner need that has nerved Life to the effort of organizing itself into the human being,” is productive of big characters and personalities because the labors and the words of a KITCHIN have been assimilated into its depths.
Address by Representative Byrnes
Of South Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE: CLAUDE KITCHIN was capable, clean, and courageous. No man who served with him in the House had doubt of his intellectual capacity. He never addressed the House on any subject which he had not carefully studied. For years he had been a student of questions involving the raising of revenues for the conduct of the Government, and in the debates on such measures he had no equal. Into his speech went all of his wonderful personality, and I doubt if in all the history of the House there has been a more effective debater.
CLAUDE KITCHIN was clean. I have known many men, but I have never known one who was cleaner in thought and in words. No colleague ever heard him utter profane language, either in public or in private. He gave proof that one can be a manly man without being a profane man.
CLAUDE KITCHIN was courageous. Time and again during his service in the House he gave proof of his courage. I recall that when the war resolution was being considered, just a few hours before the vote was taken I went into his office. He told me that the night before he had slept but little, considering whether, without violating his conscientious convictions, he could vote for the resolution recognizing the existence of a state of war; that he had concluded that he could
not vote for the resolution, and had prepared a statement which he intended to read to the House, and then read to me. He said he had not consulted his colleagues, because this was a matter in which a man's conscience must be his guide; and, much as he regretted to vote contrary to the majority of his party, he could not conscientiously support the resolution. He said he realized that his action might be misunderstood; that it would arouse intense opposition to him in his congressional district and possibly endanger his leadership upon the floor of the House; but that his only hope in life was to leave to his children the heritage that their father had never, as a Member of the House, voted against his conscientious convictions. Disagreeing with his view of the resolution, I had nothing but admiration for the magnificent courage he displayed, and when a few minutes thereafter he stated his position to the House, be it said to the credit of his colleagues, the overwhelming majority of whom differed with him, that by their applause they accorded to him the admiration that men always have for a courageous man.
CLAUDE KITCHIN is dead, but his memory lives and will ever live in the hearts of those whose pleasure it was to know him.
Address by Representative Oldfield
Mr. SPEAKER: This, of course, is a very sad occasion for all of us, especially those of us who knew Mr. KITCHIN intimately. I came here in the Sixty-first Congress, and Mr. KITCHIN, I believe, was the first Member of Congress I met. He made an impression upon me, as he made upon everyone. I dare say there was no Member in this House during his entire service who was more beloved than CLAUDE KITCHIN; in fact, it seems that everyone who came in close contact with him became devoted to him. I dare say the colored janitor of the Ways and Means Committee, Harry—I do not know his other name—was as much devoted to Mr. KITCHIN and to his memory as was the membership of this House. He was that kind of a man and had that kind of a personality, and when I heard Speaker Gillett and Mr. Longworth pronounce these beautiful eulogies on the life and character of CLAUDE KITCHIN I knew they spoke from the heart, and I know that if the circumstances were reversed Mr. KITCHIN would have said the same about them.
CLAUDE KITCHIN was a great debater. It has been repeatedly said here that he had no equal as a debater on this floor. I think that is literally true, and I do not believe there is any question about it. There are gentlemen on this floor who could probably make more beautiful speeches and more eloquent speeches, but when it came to debating
a question and arguing a question I do not think he had an equal. I am sure he did not have an equal during my service as a Member of this House. My friends, do you know why he was such a wonderful debater? He debated all the time; he argued all the time; in other words, every question to which he gave thought became a part of himself.
When Mr. KITCHIN became ill, Mr. Doughton and myself were sitting behind the seat in which he always sat. When he finished his speech on that fatal day, I saw there was something wrong with him. He could not hold his pencil in his hand and he could not hold his papers in his hand. I made some joking remark about his not being able to hold his papers, and then when I looked into his eyes I saw there was something seriously wrong. Therefore I took him by the arm and said, “CLAUDE, we must go to your office; you are ill.” Then Mr. Doughton came along and we took him to his office, put him on the couch, and within 5 or 10 minutes I was very much alarmed and was very fearful that he would not get home that evening alive.
To show how devoted the colored messenger was to Mr. KITCHIN, I do not think it would be amiss to say this—because it is simply an illustration of the way in which everyone was devoted to him, and such devotion was never misplaced—that Harry told me one day, after Mr. KITCHIN began to improve, that he knew he was going to get well. I said, “Why, Harry?” And he said, “I has been praying for him every night since he got sick.” The devotion of that man was shown for weeks when Mr. KITCHIN lay at the point of death. One
could always find Harry on the back porch of Mr. KITCHIN'S residence, and when you would ask, “Harry, what are you doing there?” his reply would be, “I am here because I thought maybe Mrs. Kitchin might need me during the night.” That was the devotion shown by all his friends.
As I have said, he was naturally a person who argued questions. I frequently visited him at his home after he became ill. I was not only devoted to Mr. KITCHIN personally but I was devoted to his political thought and ideas. I agreed with him on tax questions, and I agreed with him on tariff questions. I do not believe there is an expert in the Treasury Department to-day who knows more about the 1918 revenue act than did CLAUDE KITCHIN.
He delighted to talk to his children. He had nine of them, of all ages, from this high [indicating] on up to grown and married, and with several grandchildren. I visited him at his home one night and found him on his couch, as he was ill and unable to sit up. But he was talking all the time. He would not give me a chance to do any of the talking. He was telling me what we ought to do as a party and what to say to the Republicans in answer to this or that argument. He seemed always to be able to anticipate their arguments against every provision of his bills. I said to Mrs. Kitchin, about 9 o'clock, “I am going home; CLAUDE is going to talk himself to death if I do not go.” She said, “Please do not go, because if you do he will send for one of the children, probably the smallest one, and set her on the end of the couch and talk to
her until he gets sleepy and ready to go to bed.” In other words, he was living his work, and if he did not have a Member of Congress to talk to he would talk to his oldest son, and if he did not have his oldest son to talk to he would talk to one of his other children and probably his youngest daughter, because his heart and soul was in the work he was engaged in for the American people.
I think Mr. Longworth made a very, very true statement a moment ago when he said Mr. KITCHIN did not want to confiscate the property of any individual or any corporation because they had much wealth. He did not want to do it that way, but his whole life was wrapped up in the idea that the ordinary citizen of America should never, under any circumstances, be given the worst of it in legislation. That was his idea of public service.
I do not think I have ever seen a man more quick at repartee than Mr. KITCHIN. He could not have thought what he was going to say when gentlemen would interrupt him. Uncle Joe Cannon once told me it was foolish for a Member to interrupt CLAUDE KITCHIN on the floor of the House; that was absolutely true and it always proved to be true. I remember that a very distinguished Republican once asked Mr. KITCHIN if he would yield for a question and Mr. KITCHIN said, “Yes; gladly,” with a smile. Mr. KITCHIN then made some jocular remark about the gentleman interrupting at that particular point. Then this distinguished gentleman, who was one of the ablest men in the House, said, “I hope the great chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the leader of the majority in this House, will be
intelligent before he is funny.” Immediately Mr. KITCHIN flashed back, “I hope the gentleman from New York will be one or the other.”
One day I heard Mr. Longworth bait Mr. KITCHIN. It seems that our President had appointed some one to some high office in one of the departments. Mr. KITCHIN had become convinced that this particular individual was not fitted for the work and he criticized him quite severely, standing out in the aisle there, and he said a great many uncomplimentary things, which were not so very bad, but were simply critical, saying he was not fitted for this position. After he had gone on for some minutes, Mr. Longworth thought he would have some fun out of him and said, “I would like to ask the gentleman from North Carolina just one question.” “Why, certainly; what is it?” said Mr. KITCHIN. “I would like to know what you think this gentleman to whom you are referring is fitted for?” asked Mr. Longworth. Mr. KITCHIN instantly replied, “For but one thing, and one thing only, and that is he would make an ideal stand-pat Republican Congressman.”
He was always ready with these apropos bits of repartee which are indispensable in a debater.
Gentlemen, there have been so many splendid speeches made upon the life and character of CLAUDE KITCHIN that I do not feel competent to add anything to what has been said by those who have preceded me. However, I do want to say in conclusion one thing which probably you did not know. CLAUDE KITCHIN was one of the most religious men I have ever known; really, in his heart, a sincere
Christian. That man not only never told a smutty story in his life, but he did not know any, and if anyone told one in his presence he forgot it immediately. He told me so, and I am sure he never did, and as near as he ever came to swearing—and I have seen him as mad as he ever became—was to say, “By gracious!” That was his by-word. He was so religious, my friends, in thought and act and word that he said to me one day after he became ill, “Billy, you know what I have been thinking about for many, many years?” I said, “No, CLAUDE; I suppose about the tariff or the revenue laws.” He said, “Yes; I have thought a good deal about those things, but I have been thinking for many years that I would get off by myself some time long enough to write a book on the life of our Lord and Master, and I am hoping now that the Lord will let me live long enough so that I may show my appreciation and my gratitude for all the good things He had done for me and mine.”
Address by Representative Cannon
Mr. SPEAKER: When CLAUDE KITCHIN at the end of his long fight relinquished his hold on life, as a child loosens its grasp and falls asleep at night, there passed from earth one of the strongest, one of the sincerest, and one of the most engaging personalities in the history of his time. A dominant figure in this House from the beginning of his congressional career, he became in the stress and trial of the war a world figure; and when the ultimate history of that titanic holocaust is written and a true perspective is at last attained, he will rank high in the list of those who, while the issues still wavered in the balance, weighted the scales in the decision of that epoch-making struggle.
There were blended in him qualities and virtues seldom associated in the same breast. He possessed the strength and courage of a gladiator, the wisdom and vision of a statesman, and with them all the intuition and tenderness of a woman.
On that fateful night in April, 1917, when the roll was being called here on the question of issuing a declaration of war, patriot that he was, with all his loyalty and love of country, he was in his heart so committed to the cause of peace, he was in his soul so abhorrent of war and all its attendant train of evils that, in the face of an all but unanimous public opinion, but in the strength and courage of his convictions, he dared to vote no. If there were
those who because they did not know him ventured to question his purposes or to impugn his motives, all such doubts were speedily set at rest. The die once cast, he turned wholeheartedly, with every resource at his command, to a vigorous and successful prosecution of the war. In those trying days all party lines had vanished and with unanimous support from both sides of the aisle he spoke not as a partisan but as a direct representative of the American people. The majority leadership, already a transcendent position in our form of government, under his genius became in power and influence second only to the Presidency itself.
Such opportunity and such responsibility come but once, and seldom to more than one man in a generation, and he rose to meet them as few men have risen to the call of duty.
In ancient days when plumed knight with lance and mace drove his way through press of battle, the man at the front was the supreme consideration in military strategy; but in modern warfare the warrior, poised upon the crest of the trench awaiting, watch in hand, the coming of the zero hour, is sometimes of vastly less importance than the man far back behind the lines supplying the sinews and munitions of war. Such was the position of CLAUDE KITCHIN, and working day and night, with indomitable energy and with indefatigable application, he brought out upon the floor of this House measures which filled to overflowing the greatest war chest ever opened on the western continent.
America's fiscal support of the war under his personal supervision and direction was the wonder
and admiration of every exchequer in Europe, and then in the moment of victory, in the prime of his years, in the high tide of his brilliant and useful career, standing upon the floor of this House, he fell, still at his post of duty, as truly a casualty of the war as if he had died leading the charge upon the crimson fields of France.
I need not speak of his personal friendships. He commanded not only the high regard but the deep affection of every Member of this House and every employee of this House. I need not speak of his loss. That is written already, imperishably, in the annals of his people, beyond the power of tongue or pen to enhance or detract, and so I lay as a tribute at the door of his memory a simple expression of the undying gratitude of his country and his time. He was a patriot. He was a statesman. He was a man. His name is written forever upon the roll of our illustrious and immortal dead.
Address by Representative Quin
Mr. SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN: I did not expect to say anything, but my love for the great man, true and loyal friend, the Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, impels me to lay some kind of a flower on his grave. I learned to love that man within a short time after meeting him in the early part of 1913. I discovered that not only was he a scholar, not only was he versed in the philosophy of life, literature, history, poetry, and the science of government, but I saw in him an exponent of religion, and a real, true man of God; one of the old-fashioned type of true Christian. I discovered in him a man who in his daily walk exemplified the teachings of the God and of the Christ. I saw in his ideals, not knowing anything about his genealogy or his heritage, that from birth he was an aristocrat in character and an aristocrat in intellect. As a man he stood above and beyond the average man in life. His information was wonderful. This great man, this big soul, courageous as a lion, at the same time was as tender as a child. What appealed to me more than anything else in his service was that he stood for the poor people of this country. Every thought of that man's being as a leader was to keep the average man and woman, the poor boy and girl, the mass of the people of the United States, from having any kind of advantage taken of them in legislation. CLAUDE KITCHIN'S heart went out for that type of people not only in his prayers and in his
lip service but in his work on the committees and on the floor of the House and in his private and public life, especially touching the question of taxation and raising revenue to run the Government.
I have often said in the cloakroom that I hoped the Democrats would nominate for President this remarkable man and make him the Chief Executive of this Republic. My idea of this man was that he stood so far above the average citizen in the Republic in his feelings that he was misquoted, maligned, and wronged by publications in certain sections of the country. He stood out in front always with his breast bared in the fight for the rights of the people. He was criticized and wronged by magazines and the press, and no one has set it right. But the God above that knew his heart, and his personal friends who knew the man and what he believed, know that he was one of the greatest men in heart and mind and intellect that ever served the American people in this body or in any other position of public trust. He was honest, sincere, God-fearing, a great man, and a real statesman. In debate he was able to hold his own with anyone in the country. He was a matchless orator and a debater without an equal in Congress. I have seen him draw his rapier and start up the aisle cutting right and left and always able to take care of himself, not only here but in any forum on earth. He was a master. In his passing to the grave the people have lost a real champion. The great State of North Carolina ought to erect a monument in bronze or marble to CLAUDE KITCHIN, the superb scholar, statesman, tribune of the people, walking in the love and fear of God.
Address by Representative Madden
Mr. SPEAKER: It was my good fortune to know CLAUDE KITCHIN well. I counted him among my friends. When he died the Nation lost one of its greatest public functionaries. While he lived he honored himself, his family, and his Nation. He was one of the most sincere men I ever knew. He was clean, upright, honorable, truthful, industrious, and patriotic. He had a courage above most men. He had ideas and he had the courage to express them. No day was too long, no work was too hard for him to do for his people and his Nation. He was what might be termed a typical American. He was simple; he had no peculiar notions as to his own superiority; he was a common everyday citizen of this great land. There was no subject too great for him to approach and no question too small to engage his attention. He had a mind as versatile as that of any man I ever knew. He approached every question from the standpoint of the Nation's interest in the performance of his public duty.
He was an ardent Democrat, but among his greatest friends were the Republicans in the House. No politics shaped the friendships that he formed in the House, and his friends were not confined to the Democratic side. He was a great Democrat,
but a greater American. While he was true to the principles of his party he was not bound by the principles if they involved any surrender of his Americanism. The best test of the courage which he possessed, I think, was displayed when the President of the United States, of his own party, recommended the declaration of war. He stood on the floor of this House in protest against that recommendation and fought to prevent the declaration with all the power which he possessed. But there again his great Americanism was displayed, for immediately after action had been officially taken no man, either in or out of the public life, displayed a greater ardor in supplying the needs for victory than did CLAUDE KITCHIN.
The State of North Carolina may be justly proud of the name of CLAUDE KITCHIN, of the record he made in public life, and prouder still of the clean life he lived as a private citizen among the other privates of the Nation. For, after all, the fact that a man is a public official adds no great honor or distinction to the man.
The man himself, through his own actions, must add honor to the office he occupies rather than expect honor to come from the office to him. My own judgment always has been that office never adds anything to the man, but the man by the kind of life he lives must lead the way for others who are less qualified to follow, and the only thing that office gives is a greater field of opportunity for
service. If a man occupies an office for anything else than the privilege of serving, he is unworthy of the position he occupies. The foundations of the American Government are strong and wide and deep. These foundations were laid by the pioneers who came to America's shores in the earliest days of the Nation, and upon those foundations has been laid an enduring superstructure which, I hope, may live for all time, to lead the way to better things for humanity everywhere; and if men like CLAUDE KITCHIN could but be the type of men who are called to public service, then there is no danger and there will be no danger of America's future, because he was an American in all that that term implies. He loved his country as few men love it. He realized, as do few men realize, that it is a wonderful thing to live in a land where every citizen is a sovereign, where every man, woman, and child is free to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; to live in a land whose inventions lead the world, where the printing press and the church follow close upon the march of empire, where labor is exalted to comfortable homes, where caste is ignored, and where the humblest child of poverty may aspire unrebuked to the highest place in the gift of the Nation. The inspiration which comes from the knowledge of these things under the American flag should lead men to live lives worthy of emulation. If they do, then the future of American institutions is assured; and no man in
America's history, as I knew the man in his life, appears to me to have done more to establish this principle and to initiate this policy and to lay the foundations for the protection and preservation of American institutions than CLAUDE KITCHIN in his lifetime did. He devoted himself to the upbuilding, to the protection and preservation, of an all-American policy, which should endure and insure the constant and continuous existence for all time of America as the greatest Republic upon which the sun has ever shone.
Address by Representative Crosser
Mr. SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE: When I started for the House this afternoon I was not aware of the fact that tribute would to-day be paid to the noble and illustrious man whose life has been so sincerely and affectionately spoken of. I feel that I can not let pass the opportunity of adding my humble tribute to the life of that good and great man whom we honor this afternoon. Ordinarily I have not much patience with the perfunctory and formal praise that is usually expressed concerning a man simply because he has departed this life, but in this instance, knowing the man as well as I knew him, I feel that I would be derelict in my duty if I did not say a few words in testimony of the virtues of CLAUDE KITCHIN. Pursuing the thought of the preceding speaker, I know of no better way of making sure that this Government will more and more be represented by men of real character than by the constant emphasis of the virtues possessed by our departed leader. We can not too often tell of these virtues, so scarce, apparently, in public and in private life, and when an opportunity does present itself where we can with all sincerity not eulogize but deliberately tell the truth of how virtues possessed by our departed colleague benefited, by their manifestation through him, the whole race, then we would be falling short of our duty if we did not do so.
I remember well when I first came to this House, about 11 years ago, how CLAUDE KITCHIN figuratively put his arm about my shoulder and encouraged me when, because of conviction, I stood at times against the majority of both parties. Later on I saw him rise to the occasion and stand boldly out among his fellows against the overwhelming majority, pronouncing what he believed to be the sound principle which we should uphold. The two characteristics of Mr. KITCHIN which most indelibly fixed themselves in my mind were his courage and his tenderness. His character in these respects is well described by an old expression of my father, used when he wanted to pay high tribute to a man of Mr. KITCHIN'S type. He would say that “he is a lady in love and a lion in war,” and so it might be said of Mr. KITCHIN, for in the war for moral principles as he understood them he was truly a lion. Many times I have had occasion to say that there is not such a scarcity of men of intellectual alertness, in mental capacity; that most men are sufficiently endowed with intellectual capacity, but that the one thing that is so hard to find among men is the moral courage to stand stanchly for the things which they know to be right. That charge can never be leveled at CLAUDE KITCHIN.
I remember well the incident, referred to so frequently here to-day, when Mr. KITCHIN stood just at the right of the Clerk's desk here on the night in April, 1917, when war was declared. I can almost remember the words he used. He said that he had calculated fully what it meant to him; he realized very keenly the difficulties he might be making
for himself politically and the social ostracism that he might perhaps suffer by opposing the declaration of war; but on the other hand he said that he had thought of the agony that it was going to bring to the many, many millions of this country, of the blood of young Americans that would be spilled on the fields of Europe, of the hardships it was bound to bring to almost every family; that he had discussed it all seriously with his wife the night before, and they had decided that he should oppose the resolution even if they would go barefooted and alone if necessary. That was about his language. Mr. Speaker, it took real courage to do that, but CLAUDE KITCHIN was more concerned about listening to and answering the still small voice that was in him than in receiving the plaudits of the multitude or even the approval of his fellow Members in this House, and no one in a very short time thought any the less of him, and those who admire moral courage and adherence to conviction at that moment were filled with pride in and affection for the man as he stood before them.
We have heard his partisanship mentioned frequently this afternoon, but I am much more pleased by seeing a man stand strongly and firmly for what he believes to be right, whether or not it seems for the moment to help or hurt his party, than to see a man who will stand for his own party or his own position, and Mr. KITCHIN was the man of the former type. Fearless championship of the right was always his first impulse.
That sort of a man was CLAUDE KITCHIN. But on the other hand no one who knew him, who had
come in close contact with him, could help feeling the tenderness that pervaded his whole life. Many, many times have I noted that quality. He was tender to the extreme. Vigorously as he might combat the party on the other side of the House, he was always kind in stating his position, always spoke with a gentle good nature, always with a smile upon his face that gave them to understand that there was nothing personal in what he had to say and that he made no attack on the individual, and that he only opposed what he believed to be the erroneous ideas which a man espoused. Now, those two qualities—courage and kindness—are sufficient to make great any man possessing them to the degree Mr. KITCHIN had them. Stating the matter briefly, he had great love for his fellow men. Time and time again, in actions, if not always in words, he said that his concern was to serve the everyday people, to see that justice was done to the humblest in the land, defending those who needed defense, knowing well that special-privilege seekers always are able to, and do, look out for themselves. Many people wondered why a man of such wonderful talent, with his great intellectual capacity, did not devote himself to a private life which would bring all the comforts supposed to be the certain accompaniment of material possessions. Why, they asked, did he not go out and acquire material great wealth? The answer is, because he realized full well that true happiness consists not in satisfying the physical senses, but rather in expressing in living, true ideals.
Friends, if men only would learn the lesson from the life of Mr. KITCHIN that service to others rather than the grasping of the fruits of other men's service is the right and joy-giving course, how much better this weary, carking world of ours would shortly be. CLAUDE KITCHIN with superb moral courage championed the cause of the oppressed and obscure instead of fawning upon the powerful and wealthy. He had tender feeling rather than malice or hatred for the erstwhile opponent. Truly, indeed, may it be said in the immortal words of Shakespeare:
- His life was gentle, and the elements
- So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up
- And say to all the world, “This was a man!”
Address by Representative Upshaw
Mr. SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN: It is a beautiful and convincing commentary on the wonderful triumph of our Christian civilization that in this great temple of patriotism and law-making fellowship such tributes as we have listened to to-day can be paid to a man who was in the limelight and the searchlight of the public gaze as long as CLAUDE KITCHIN was. And especially notable is the fact that these tributes, some of the most enthusiastic and beautiful, have come from those who sharply opposed him from a political standpoint.
It was not my privilege to know Mr. KITCHIN during the strenuous war time to which reference has been made. I knew him first as a Member of the Sixty-sixth Congress, but I honored and loved him almost above men in public life. I treasured his unfailing courtesy and beautiful words in personal letters from him after he went away.
I loved him first of all because he was a genuine man, genuine to the very core. It was my privilege some time ago to address the State senate in the historical capital of Maine. As I looked upon the pictured face of James G. Blaine, so nationally prominent in the life of his State and Nation, I was reminded of that striking story of how Blaine and Garfield were summering one time in Europe as a relief from the tedium of active legislative activities, when Blaine said, “Garfield, what was the
first thing that ever took hold of your life that made you want to be the man you have become?” and Garfield answered in these wonderful words that ought to be framed, I believe, in every American home: “Blaine, it was the consciousness that I had to live with Jim Garfield; that I could not do an unworthy deed, think an unworthy thought, or harbor an unworthy motive but that Jim Garfield would know it, and I determined, God being my helper, that I would never do anything that would make Jim Garfield think less of me.” That is great stuff, my colleagues. That is stuff out of which you make the men and women who fashion the ideals of our communities at home; that is stuff out of which you make the men and women who fashion the ideals of this great land we love; that is stuff out of which you make the men and women who rule this world, “like ascending constellations in God's horoscope of time.”
If this war through which we recently passed and which CLAUDE KITCHIN conscientiously and bravely voted to prevent meant anything more than any other one thing, it meant the shattering of shams. The world, as never before, demanded the genuine in character, the genuine in religion, the genuine in politics, the genuine in everything. Because CLAUDE KITCHIN was such a refreshingly brilliant exponent of the genuine, I loved and crowned him in my heart and thought.
And I loved him, too, because of his unfailing good humor. How winsome his personality! I can see him now, walking up that aisle and standing there, confronting one of the opposing side who
was calling him sharply to task, when, meeting the sharp words with a smile, he said, “I was just trying to get the gentleman to stop long enough that I might apologize for having offended him.” And thus he won us. It was my privilege to write a line in autographing my new book to a friend a few days ago as a Christmas memento, and after writing his name I said, “The man who won me by his opposition—his gentlemanly, high-souled spirit.” That was CLAUDE KITCHIN'S winsome way; he never stooped to “fawning sycophancy” in personal or public relations.
I loved CLAUDE KITCHIN because, as has been so strikingly said, his lips and his life were clean. That was a wonderful thing that our friend from Arkansas [Mr. Oldfield] said, which some of us heard, I confess with tears—that in all his long personal and political acquaintance with him it could be said of CLAUDE KITCHIN that not one of these pages—these boys of tender years—ever heard him in the cloakroom let an oath or an unclean word fall from his stainless lips. The gentleman who just preceded me referred to the well-remembered teaching of his own father. I am thinking how Dr. A. B. Vaughan, the man who baptized the man who speaks to you now, pointed to the casket that held the sacred dust of my Christian father and said, “There lies the body of a man whom I have known for 21 years and who I have never heard speak one word that could not have been spoken in the presence of a lady.” I have heard men say the same after many years’ acquaintance with Richmond P. Hobson. I have heard men say the same thing after
a quarter of a century of acquaintance with William J. Bryan. It is gratifying to hear the same thing said to-day of the brilliant and stainless CLAUDE KITCHIN.
I loved him also because of his unflinching courage. How fine it was to see him wrap a regnant conscience around his every personal and public act. What an inspiration to young men whom I would fascinate, if possible, to follow such an example into political life. But I loved him most of all, if I know my heart, because of the fact that he was an humble, God-fearing, Christian man. How glorious to see a gigantic man of such brilliant parts kneel from his earthly eminence at the foot of the cross with the faith of a little child.
Three great springs of spiritual influence emptied into his heart; the memory of the altar at his mother's knee, and the wonderful influence of Wake Forest College, that great Christian institution of North Carolina which has sent out perhaps the largest proportion of great men in church and state of any institution of its age and size in America.
CLAUDE KITCHIN believed in the great fundamental truth that education without religion is like a flower without fragrance—like a statue without a soul. And that other sacred influence was the little Baptist church down yonder in North Carolina which he joined in his tender years, and whose strong sustaining influential hand was upon his heart, as the gentleman from Arkansas [Mr. Oldfield] told us, as he went down into the valley of the shadow. CLAUDE KITCHIN did not believe in
mere formal religion that acknowledged Christ only as a historic character and ethical exemplar—he believed in a personal face-to-face acquaintance with Christ as his personal redeemer; and that vital faith, born in the wondrous miracle of a new heart and a new life, was the power that held him through all the activities of his public life, that would not allow him to claim moral immunity because he was brilliant or famous.
A bright young man, now a student in a great university in New York, said to me on the street here during the holidays:
I was a page in Congress when I was 13, and I confess that I sometimes became disillusioned in my acquaintance with public men, for some of the men who inspired me most from the standpoint of brilliant eloquence would come into the cloakroom after a great speech and drop oaths and unclean words in my ears and the ears and hearts of the boys around me. That evil influence is still upon me.
Thank God that could not be said of this great man. Brilliant as a star, tender as a woman, giving an inspiring illustration of what one woman called the ideal gentleman—“the hand of oak in a glove of velvet, gentle to the touch, but firm when pressed.”
Ah, friends, what are all “the sweet seducing charms of popular applause”? What are the glittering gewgaws of wordly crowns, if our hearts are not right with God and man, as was the heart of our beloved friend? Standing with those who loved him best and mourned him most, standing by his silent but “vocal dust” down yonder in the
little cemetery at Scotland Neck, we are wondering why such a man must die in the prime of his life when the country so greatly needed him. Thank God that radiant, sustaining faith and hope—
- Not now but in the coming years,
- It may be in the better land,
- We'll read the meaning of our tears,
- And there some time we'll understand.
Behold that grave loses its victory in face of the Christian's hope sublime!
Lo, beyond the Orient meadows floats the golden fringe of day;
Heart to heart we'll bide the shadows till the mists have cleared away.
Address by Representative Stevenson
Of South Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: I should not like these proceedings to close without having said something in relation to Mr. KITCHIN'S life and experience. Great crises in human affairs have always produced characters of sufficient magnitude to deal successfully with them. It is one of the compensations of human existence that an All-Wise Providence provides the man to lead in each successive crisis.
North Carolina is my native State; I was born and reared there, a contemporary of KITCHIN, and I was educated there. I left North Carolina just after I was 21, but have lived within nine miles of the line all my life since.
North Carolina has been an example of the fact that Providence chastens and then provides the remedy. In a panic precipitated by acute suffering consequent upon a long series of depressions North Carolina plunged into an orgy of politics in 1894 that threatened to bankrupt her institutions, destroy her system of government, to almost destroy her civilization, and when those of us living just across the line wondered what would happen to a State with her glorious history, under the conditions which were then prevailing and for which there seemed no remedy, in 1898 a galaxy of young men was produced by the emergency. The old men had passed off; Ransom and Vance, and all of that coterie of wise men of the preceding generation
had passed, with the exception of Major Stedman and Governor Jarvis, and this galaxy of young men appeared, whose equals, I venture to say, have not been produced by any State within the last two generations. They had Aycock, a brilliant man, who became the first governor after that orgy; he rehabilitated their educational institutions and started North Carolina on the career which has made her one of the leading educational States in the Nation, and stricken by reason of the tremendous energy with which he went at the problem, he was never able to work much afterwards and passed off the scene. They had Glenn following him. They, Glenn and Aycock, were the two great leaders of the campaign that brought North Carolina back to her senses. He was her governor, and he passed out of office a fatally stricken man. They had Simmons, who to-day, at the other end of this Capitol, is recognized on his side as the leading statesman in that great body.
They had James H. Pou, Esq., who is still in the flesh and active; also his brother, Edward W. Pou, who to-day feelingly paid tribute to his deceased colleague. They have always shed luster on their State. They had William W. Kitchin, the brother of the deceased, who himself left these Halls to become Governor of North Carolina and who passed out of that office, after the trying duties of four years, fatally stricken and never fit to engage in any business occupation again. They had Locke Craig, who followed Kitchin as governor and who to-day is living, without murmuring, a hopeless invalid, having sacrificed himself in discharging the
onerous duties of governor of that great State. Along with them was CLAUDE KITCHIN and Cameron Morrison, who is to-day Governor of North Carolina, as well as E. Y. Webb, who sat many years here and who to-day is gracing the Federal bench in North Carolina. That galaxy of young men were the leaders produced by the terrible conditions into which North Carolina was plunged, and their performances, of which CLAUDE KITCHIN had much of the leadership, are such as are written in the glorious history of that State from that time to this, and they were ably assisted by a host of others equally patriotic.
Did you realize that, taken from bankruptcy and redeemed from a condition that was almost beyond the power of civilization to endure, the State of North Carolina to-day is one of the leading States of the Nation? It was the fourth State in the payment of internal Federal revenue to the National Government in the last fiscal year, which is a complete answer to the proposition that the Federal taxation was selfishly placed by Mr. KITCHIN—because he had a great deal to do with all of it—so as to fall upon States in other sections. It has been brought to that condition where it levies no tax upon the property of the people to sustain the State government. That is the character of statesmanship which characterized that coterie of men, of whom CLAUDE KITCHIN was one of the chief leaders.
Their accomplishments in this body have already been stated, better than I can state them, by the distinguished leader on the Democratic side. He
has given you a sketch of Mr. KITCHIN'S activities and of his accomplishments, which deserve to go down in history and which will be embalmed in the record made here to-day.
I want to close by saying that while the relationship before I came to this House in 1917 between myself and Mr. KITCHIN was not close, yet we knew each other in a way; we knew of each other. We were contemporaries; we were married on the same day; we were married on the 13th day of November, 1888, and we have frequently twitted one another about having married luckily because we married on the 13th day of the month. But for childlike simplicity and warm-hearted generosity Mr. KITCHIN held the palm, in so far as my acquaintance with public men is concerned, and that is as high a tribute as I can pay him. Coming from South Carolina, I merely desire to spread this appreciation in this record and to close this meeting with the regretful admission that we may not see his equal again until some supreme crisis calls for another victorious deliverance.
Address by Representative Ward
Of North Carolina
Mr. SPEAKER: The news from the bedside of Mr. KITCHIN that his end was approaching fell upon the people of his State like a solar eclipse unheralded. He had been so buoyant in spirit to those who had been to see him and carried out the report of his condition that confidence had been built up that his career had still further achievements in store. The Sixty-eighth Congress was entirely a thing in contemplation. Its measure had not been taken, and he was the Democratic leader and in line for Speaker. Something vague was foreseen of the divisions that developed here in the first two weeks of the session. Mr. KITCHIN'S immense personal popularity with the personnel of every House in which he had served, especially in the latter years of his career, was well understood and with glowing pride was taken into account. He stood always undaunted and impervious, in nature's mold, before doubts and forecasts of failure when a conflict was on. He was not of the kind that waited to see that winning was easy before he entered the conflict, because he liked the conflict in itself and feared nothing and struck for the desired end.
His soul was resolute and had no place for fear.
Everybody knew this and recollected that these qualities of leadership under similar conditions organized the House in the Sixty-fifth Congress. He had told his friends he would get all right and
would be Speaker. This was their hope. Whether it could have been, they can not know. Nothing to be gained by the speculation, but the human mind enjoys its independence and grows by its exercise, and does not wait for demonstration. The human intellect that knows Stonewall Jackson and Albert Sydney Johnston does not stop for demonstration that Gettysburg would not have been lost if Jackson had been there at the head of his army, nor that Shiloh would have been a victory instead of a defeat if Johnston's life had been spared only a few hours longer—it intuitively knows it. But realization of such a hope and fruition of such a pride was not in the Divine will, and so with many stricken ones they bowed to the Divine decree and gathered from almost the four corners of the State around his grave.
I need not if I could analyze the qualities of his great mind and character. Others have done that sufficiently. His consideration for others, the final test in the last analysis of personal character, manifested itself in every touch of personal or public contact. Lord Chesterfield well said, “A gentleman is one who has consideration for others.” This accurate observation on human character is worthy of quotation and of application to the life of Mr. KITCHIN, for it was exactly the thing that made him what he was.
Much reference has been made to his powers in debate, the thing that immediately brought him to the notice of the country, and Major Stedman has made reference to his parentage. With me the two suggestions are associated so strongly that I
can not separate them. No one who knew his father, Capt. W. H. Kitchin, could ever think of one of his sons as a popular speaker or debater without invoking the law of heredity and so reflecting is apt to sympathize with that courtier of Alexander the Great who suffered instant death at one of the midnight revelries with his chief for suggesting that his father, Phillip, had done greater things than ever he had done. I do not adopt the comparison of the drunk and indiscreet courtier, but only say I know where Mr. KITCHIN got his wonderful powers of debate, for I lived in North Carolina, not far distant from Scotland Neck, through at least the latter half of those never to be forgotten days of her political travail that followed reconstruction. When Captain Kitchin faced a political foe in those days of his vigorous life there was never anything like it.
The bludgeon and the rapier handed down from the father, the heart and hand that should wield them tempered by tact and culture and gentleness, the maternal gift coming down through the Arringtons, a family marked to prominence with these qualities. Here is the finished product; nothing more, nothing less. The story goes with good authority that in the campaign months of 1890, I think, the late Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts, had occasion once to go to Warrenton, N. C., and be there on Monday, which happened to be the first day of the term of a district superior court and also the day set apart after the noon recess for political discussions. These were the days, and especially these the occasions, that brought to the
courthouse of North Carolina immense crowds of earnest, agitated, patriotic people. Cheatham, the negro who represented that district in Congress at that time, was billed to speak and Captain Kitchin was called to reply. Senator Hoar said to the hotel proprietor:
I understand you are to have a political discussion today; I wonder if I could get a comfortable seat.
Immediately he was assured, and coming back was noticed to be in deep thought, and when asked what he thought of the speaking he replied:
I never heard anything like the speech of Mr. Kitchin before. Although I never exactly cultivated his style, I thought I knew something about the English language—
but I didn't know it was capable of just such use as that.
I tell the story not only to show how naturally Mr. KITCHIN came to the possession of this talent that so distinguished him but to suggest the thought of the stilted, ornate, learned Puritan of hostile political views, of which Senator Hoar was the highest type, falling under the spell of such a thing as Captain Kitchin's political speech. Chance, accident, or coincidence lay no claims to such a result. It had no place in the alchemy of chance, but rises in the realm of humor to the magnitude of destiny. But the elements of the powers of debate were not CLAUDE KITCHIN'S greatest possessions. I doubt if this was his foremost talent. There were other mental qualities no less remarkable. He lay on the floor of the front porch a barefoot 11-year-old boy one summer morning with his feet upon the
house wall and multiplied five figures by five figures by mental vision and no handwork and gave the correct product and won his father's watch, which he wore through life. How could such a mind be other than invaluable to the Ways and Means Committee?
It was his purity of life and clearness of thought and conduct; his loyalty to friends and his devotion to the high things of life that marked him for destiny and enabled him to hold the confidence of the people of his State and his personal friends when causes arose that in other men would have excused a falling away from him. And such causes did at times exist. He did not always enjoy the full support of his State. His speech on the declaration of war was far from popular in North Carolina; so much so as would have well-nigh weighed down the average man. There was perhaps no other man in North Carolina at the time that could have made it and survived, and few would have faced the risk. Although a strong partisan, his party leader had to be right as he saw it or he could not follow.
His career was cut off in the noonday of its strength and usefulness, when friends innumerable clung with fondest attachment and his country's need was sorest. Such is so frequently the path of public service; such life's fickle story; such the ways of Providence to which the grief-stricken soul inevitably must bow, sob awhile, wipe away a tear, lift up its head, and pass on into life's activities and forget till the next time comes round, and so on and on to its own.
From 21 to 34 an active lawyer. From 34 to 54 a Member of Congress; chairman of Ways and Means Committee; minority leader. Clean, strong, magnetic, popular. A fine family and a happy home life, all ended at 54; but—
How long we live, not years but actions tell.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. In accordance with the resolution heretofore adopted, the House will stand adjourned.
Accordingly (at 3 o'clock and 30 minutes p. m.) the House adjourned until to-morrow, Thursday, January 10, 1924, at 12 o'clock noon.
United States Senate
Proceedings in the United States Senate
THURSDAY, December 6, 1923.
A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Chaffee, one of its clerks, communicated to the Senate the intelligence of the death of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina, and transmitted the resolutions of the House thereon.
MONDAY, December 10, 1923.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore laid before the Senate a resolution (H. Res. 12) of the House of Representatives, which was read as follows:
Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow of the death of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, a Representative from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate and transmit a copy thereof to the family of the deceased.
Resolved, That as a further mark of respect this House do now adjourn.
Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. President, I submit the resolution which I send to the desk, and ask unanimous consent for its immediate consideration.
The resolution (S. Res. 41) was read, considered by unanimous consent, and unanimously agreed to, as follows:
Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved further, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the House of Representatives and transmit a copy thereof to the family of the deceased.
Mr. WADSWORTH. Mr. President, as a further mark of respect to the memory of the Representatives whose deaths have just been announced, I move that the Senate do now adjourn.
The motion was unanimously agreed to; and (at 2 o'clock and 30 minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned until to-morrow, Tuesday, December 11, 1923, at 12 o'clock meridian.
WEDNESDAY, January 9, 1924.
A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Farrell, one of its clerks, communicated to the Senate the following resolution (H. Res. 140) adopted as a tribute to the memory of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina:
Resolved, That the business of the House be now suspended, that opportunity may be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late a Member of this House from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved, That as a particular mark of respect to the memory of the deceased and in recognition of his distinguished public career the House, at the conclusion of these exercises, shall stand adjourned.
Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate.
Resolved, That the Clerk send a copy of these resolutions to the family of the deceased.
SATURDAY, June 7, 1924.
Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a brief statement by myself with reference to the life and public services of Hon. CLAUDE KITCHIN, late minority leader of the House of Representatives. Memorial services were held in the House for the late Mr. KITCHIN and the volume embracing the speeches of Mr. KITCHIN'S colleagues on that occasion will shortly be printed. I wish my brief statement to appear in that volume. Mr. KITCHIN was one of the greatest parliamentary leaders and debaters of the present day.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? The Chair hears none, and it is so ordered.
Mr. OVERMAN. Mr. President, I understood there were to be memorial services for CLAUDE KITCHIN in the Senate. I understand from the statement just made by my colleague that that is not going to be done. I therefore ask a similar privilege to that just rendered to my colleague, and ask the same order.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, permission is granted to the junior Senator from North Carolina as requested.
Address by Senator Simmons
Of North Carolina
Mr. PRESIDENT: I can not permit this session of Congress to close without paying a personal tribute to the great party and parliamentary leader of the body at the other end of the Capitol who has lately passed to the great beyond. The House has already held memorial services in honor of Mr. KITCHIN, and his colleagues in that body have spoken in just and deserved eulogy of his life and his high public service.
The old practice of holding memorial services in the Senate for Members of the House, however distinguished, has fallen into disuse. The position which CLAUDE KITCHIN attained and occupied in the Republic was so eminent and unusual, however, that it would not be fitting for the Senate to adjourn without further notice of his death than the resolutions of sorrow and condolence that have already been unanimously adopted in this Chamber.
CLAUDE KITCHIN was twelve consecutive times elected a Representative in Congress from the second congressional district of North Carolina. He entered the House at the early age of 31 years and his conspicuous ability and devotion to his country did not have to wait long for proper recognition. It is not too much to say that Mr. KITCHIN was the greatest debater and floor leader that the Democratic Party has had in the House of Representatives in this generation. I do not think that in
the forum of debate he had any superior in his day in the United States. His work in committee and in the councils of his party was equally able and useful.
For nearly a decade prior to the time he was stricken on the floor of the House our relations were peculiarly intimate and constant. Under the two terms of the Wilson administration Mr. KITCHIN was, during the greater part of the time, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House and I was chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, these two committees having direct charge and jurisdiction over financial, tariff, and internal revenue legislation of the Congress. In those hard and strenuous days and nights of the World War I had opportunity extraordinary to learn the quality of the steel and the character with which CLAUDE KITCHIN was fashioned. Although, just a few years before, Mr. KITCHIN had opposed my reelection to the United States Senate, advocating instead the election of his brother, ex-Governor William W. Kitchin, who was one of the candidates opposing me and who himself had served many years in the House, the late House minority leader (then the majority leader) and I became the closest of friends in our work during the war.
For years before CLAUDE KITCHIN'S death I do not think I had a more devoted or unselfish friend than he. I was proud of his friendship and I shall take joy from the memory of it as long as I live. One of the last letters that I received from him—it was
written by his own hand—assured me that if I should have opposition for reelection to the Senate this year for my fifth term, he would, if humanly possible, arise from his sick bed and take the stump for me in the campaign. I fully reciprocated his affection, and the illness that struck him down in the prime of superb manhood and at the height of his power and usefulness brought deep personal grief to me, not only because of my affection for him but because I realized the severe loss that the country suffered in being deprived of CLAUDE KITCHIN'S services.
His gallant spirit was undaunted to the day of his death, and he never gave up. His love for his country reached the flood tide even as disease laid its hand heavily and more heavily upon his body. He never abated his intense interest in legislation and the government of his country. I have in my files letters from him, written with trembling hand, that show that even as he walked down into the valley of the shadow of death his thoughts and solicitude were only for his country and his family and not at all for himself.
Mr. KITCHIN sprang from a brave and manly race. Both himself and his brother ex-Governor Kitchin were almost perfect specimens of the finest physical, intellectual, and moral manhood. For two hundred years every drop of their blood had been American blood and North Carolina blood. Their father served in Congress before them. Their mother was a member of the distinguished Arrington family that had also given Representatives in Congress to the State.
CLAUDE KITCHIN'S home life was ideal. He was devoted to his wife and children and they were devoted to him. His private life was as pure as that of the purest woman. His life and career can not fail to be an inspiration for all time to the youth of the State that he loved and served so well.
Browning could well have been referring to CLAUDE KITCHIN when he wrote:
One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.
On May 31, 1923, in his home district, where he was loved as probably no man had been loved before, the knightly spirit of the great Democratic leader of the House of Representatives passed to the Master. He died as he lived, loving his friends, his family, his country, and his God—and quite unafraid.
I stood beside his grave and saw loving hands commit his body to his native soil, every inch of which he had loved with a holy love, while a vast multitude of North Carolinians stood by, overcome with sorrow, and dazed with the realization that they would see him and have him for their leader and champion no more.
- The storm of life has softened to a breeze
- That gently woos the lilies on his grave;
- No more of shipwreck, or of angry seas;
- God give him rest—rest for the true and brave.
Address by Senator Oberman
Of North Carolina
CLAUDE KITCHEN was indeed a great man. His career was comparatively a short one, but like a star of the first magnitude he gradually rose higher and brighter in the political firmament until he could be seen and admired by all. Unfortunately his brilliant career was cut short before it had reached its zenith and his death caused the entire country to mourn. His fame, deservedly great, was not inclosed by the boundaries of his own State or section, and when the sad news of his death was spread over the country by the press it was given the place of honor in all of the papers of the country and carried in big headlines which told the people of the passing of one of their really great leaders.
Few North Carolinians ever shed more luster and glory upon their native State than did Mr. KITCHIN. It was shortly after he entered the House of Representatives that he impressed his colleagues and his countrymen with his great abilities and common sense and they knew at once that a new leader had come among them. In the last 60 years the House has had some great parliamentary leaders. Sam Randall, of Pennsylvania; Tom Reed, of Maine; James D. Richardson, of Tennessee; Champ Clark, of Missouri; and Joe Cannon, of Illinois, are some
of the greatest. CLAUDE KITCHIN was the equal of any of these and in some respects their superior, especially in a running debate. When he drew his keen Damascus blade all with whom he contended went down thoroughly discomfited before his able reasoning, his shining wit, and his biting sarcasm, but because the contest was always pitched by Mr. KITCHIN upon such fair and friendly grounds none of the victims of his power ever went down with the sting which usually accompanies defeat. He was loved and admired both by his friends and opponents. He was recognized as a statesman of sublime courage, which was perhaps his chief characteristic. Other noble qualities which he possessed in a remarkable degree were his ringing sincerity, a strong love of truth and fair play, and an utter hatred of all sham, deceit, and hypocrisy. He was a militant “Son of Truth.” Neither his friends nor his enemies could persuade him to depart from what he believed to be right in principle and morals. Once he saw the principle in a contest or question he would fight to the last ditch to establish it, and neither the thrill of winning a specious victory by compromise nor the enhancing of his reputation or popularity could move him from it.
The first time I ever met him was as a member of the platform committee of the State Democratic convention of 1900, both of us having had the honor of serving upon that committee, which was composed of some of the great leaders of the party, such as Gov. Thomas J. Jarvis, Josephus Daniels,
Gov. R. A. Doughton, and James A. Lockhart. At that time the party was face to face with a crisis, and the future success or failure of the party hung upon its action upon a certain resolution which had been presented to the convention by the leaders of the Populist Party. The resolution proposed that the Democrats fuse with the Populists in the coming campaign, and it was submitted to the platform committee for recommendation. Four years before the Populists had fused with the Republicans and they had carried the State by a very large majority, and consequently the temptation to fuse was great. When the resolution came before the committee Mr. KITCHIN, Mr. Lockhart, and myself fought it bitterly. The vote was very close when Gov. W. W. Kitchin, who was also a member of the committee and the only Democratic Member of Congress from North Carolina at that time, appealed to his brother to support the resolution, saying that W. J. Bryan, the Democratic presidential nominee, had written a letter advising such fusion, and that the failure to adopt the resolution would be a slap in the face of Mr. Bryan and would mean his (the governor's) defeat for Congress and the defeat of the party in the coming campaign in the State. But Mr. KITCHIN replied: “You are my brother, to whom I am devoted and whom I would be pleased to serve, but the integrity and success of the Democratic Party is nearer and dearer to me than your election to Congress and I can not go with you on the resolution.” Then other outside and powerful influences were brought to bear
upon him, but without avail. The resolution was defeated by a majority of one, CLAUDE KITCHIN casting his vote against it. Mr. KITCHIN was then a very young man, just beginning his political career, and I have never seen such sublime and heroic courage as was exhibited by him on that occasion, for when his youth, the time and place, and the influences brought to bear upon him are considered, it will be seen that such a vote could only have been given by a very strong and brave young man. The resolution was defeated by his vote and the result was the election of Charles B. Aycock as governor of the State, the reelection of his brother to Congress and a great Democratic victory, the disruption of his party avoided, and the preservation of its time-honored principles.
At another time in a great crisis was this wonderful courage and independence shown. The war resolution was before Congress, and both parties were almost unanimously in its favor and the public sentiment throughout the entire country and the people of his State and district were in favor of it, yet against the advice and appeals of his friends Mr. KITCHIN almost solitary and alone voted against it. He was honest. He sincerely believed that war between this country and Germany could be avoided; that it was unnecessary, and therefore he voted against it. But when war was declared, with all his energy and ability, he gave Woodrow Wilson and his administration his unbounded and patriotic support, leading his party and the Republicans as well in the support of all of the great war appropriations
and all legislative matters recommended by the administration for the carrying on of the war to the end that we might achieve a glorious victory. He loved his country and his people, but never could he be swerved by party or personal considerations from doing that which his conscience told him was right and proper.
He was a great student and was thoroughly prepared whenever he undertook the discussion of a great question so that it was impossible to trap him or throw him off his base in debate. He always invited interruption, and was never so strong and invincible as when on his feet answering interrogatories.
Of high character, of unimpeachable integrity, of sublime courage, a great lover of truth, a splendid statesman, never deserting a friend nor striking an enemy while he was down, few greater men have lived in our day and generation.
Within the circle of his home he was ever blessed with the devotion of a noble wife and with the passionate love of his children, and he was never so happy as when surrounded by his wife and children in his beautiful home. His family worshiped him, his district and his State were proud of him and loved him, and the country at large felt the same pride and gave him the same confidence it always feels and gives a great public servant in whose courage and integrity it has complete confidence.
He was sick a long time, but he bore it all with the same courage and patience exhibited by him during his whole life. Finally weak, tired, and
exhausted, he fell asleep. He so lived that when his summons came to join—
- The innumerable caravan which moves
- To that mysterious realm where each shall take
- His chamber in the silent hall of death,
- He went, not like the quarry slave at night
- Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed
- By an unfaltering trust, approaching his grave
- Like one that draws the drapery of his couch
- About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.