Page images

as a soldier, as a statesman, and as one of the outstanding patriots of his day and time.

Appearing before the Committee on the Library in 1903, Col. Joseph Smolinski said of the proposal to honor the memory of Count Pulaski:

From out that galaxy of heroes who gave our Nation an historic beginning at a momentous period of the world's history, not excelled even by the Olympian memories of Pericles, who pictured in thundering eloquence Athenian patriotism, there is one among the many far-shining men whose renown in valor and deeds is the record of a golden page of our national history, to which it has imparted dignity. This one man I single out was a foreigner by birth, a noble son of that most ancient nation, Poland; a stranger, if you please, but a dear brother by adoption, a veritable Bayard, "without fear and without reproach," a champion in the cause of the oppressed, in the cause of freedom, a hero of liberty, nay, an American citizen, baptized in his own blood on the plains of Savannah while defending our beloved land against the enemy.

There are millions of loyal and patriotic citizens in this country of German origin who feel that a similar tribute could be paid to General Muhlenberg with the added fact that he was a product of the new country and not of the old.

Appearing before the Committee on the Library on April 21, 1938, Mr. E. E. Keister, of Strasburg, Va., said:

Gen. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg was one of the outstanding figures of the American Revolution, and his ringing call to arms at Woodstock, Va., was perhaps the most dramatic incident of that fateful contest.

Muhlenberg was a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1746; schooled in Philadelphia; apprenticed_to a merchant in Germany; back in America, a Lutheran preacher at 21. Four years later, in 1771, he received a call to Virginia. To gain full legal standing in Virginia, he went to England and was there ordained, April 25, 1772, by the Bishop of London. The same year he located at Woodstock. Active as a clergyman, he soon became prominent also in civil affairsa member of the House of Burgesses and chairman of the committee of public safety in Dunmore County. Among his acquaintances was George Washington, to whom, in the opinion of some, he bore a striking personal resemblance.

Early in 1776 Muhlenberg was appointed colonel of the Eighth Virginia Regiment. He preached his farewell sermon in the little church at Woodstock, threw aside his clerical robes, and called the men of his parish to arms. Thomas Buchanan Read has described the scene most effectively in his famous poem:

He spoke of wrongs too long endured,
Of sacred rights to be secured;
And there was tumult in the air,

The fife's shrill note, the drum's loud beat,
And through the wide land everywhere

The answering tread of hurrying feet." Muhlenberg's military services in the War of the Revolution continued from first to last, and extended over a wide geographical area. First he won distinction in the South, notably at Sullivans Island, S. C.; then in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York; finally, again, in Virginia.

In February 1777, he was made a brigadier general in the Continental Army. In September of that year his brigade and Weedon's bore the brunt of the fighting in the battle of Brandywine; the next month he distinguished himself at Germantown. The following winter he was with Washington at Valley Forge. In the summer of 1778 he fought at Monmouth and the next year he supported Anthony Wayne in the capture of Stony Point. In December 1779 Washington sent him to Virginia, where he was in chief command until the arrival of Steuben and Lafayette; then he ably seconded them. He assisted in penning up Cornwallis at Yorktown. In the siege of Yorktown he led the first brigade of light infantry and was conspicuous in the attacks that compelled Cornwallis to surrender. His services at Yorktown ranked with those of Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton.

Near the close of the war, Muhlenberg was brevetted major general. Then, after having his home at Woodstock for 11 years, he removed to Philadelphia. There, in 1784, he was elected to the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsyl vania. For 3 years, 1785–88, he was vice president of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin being president. In 1787, when the Federal Constitution was presented to Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg was influential in securing an early adoption. For 6 years, between 1789 and 1801, he was a Member of Congress, the House of Representatives. He was then elected to the Senate, but resigned. The last 5 years of his life, 1802-07, he was collector of customs for the city of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has erected a statue of Muhlenberg in the City Hall Square; and when the State of Pennsylvania chose two of her most distinguished sons to be honored in Statuary Hall in the Capitol here in Washington, Muhlenberg was one of the two chosen. At least two extended biographies of Muhlenberg have been published-one by a great-nephew, Henry A. Muhlenberg, in 1849; another by Edward W. Hocker, in 1936. Practically all of the standard encyclopedias contain articles on Muhlenberg. The best one I have seen is to be found in the Dictionary of American Biography, recently brought out by Charles Scribner's Sons, in New York City.

Muhlenberg's notable call to arms at Woodstock has been recognized by historians, enshrined by poets, and depicted on canvas by distinguished artists. His name is a household word in Virginia and Pennsylvania, is familiar to students all over the Nation, and is not unknown in Europe. Every year thousands of tourists come to Woodstock, the historic town where Muhlenberg first rose to fame. Many seek to know more of him and his brilliant deeds. It is only fitting that our Nation shall honor him with a monument on the spot where his genius first blazed forth, that the youth of America shall be inspired and all comers uplifted by his example.

At the same hearing Capt. Greenlee D. Letcher, of Lexington, Va., said:

I am from a college town and to my dismay and deep regret in a ballot among the students of a certain American university, a few days ago, 25 percent of the ballots cast stated that the young men casting these votes would not as soldiers defend America, and 82 percent would not fight on foreign soil. With this poison in the life of those who will later become the leaders of thought and action, Congress cannot do better than multiply memorials and shrines of loyalty and patriotism such as this, where its exemplar is a reverend man of God.

On the famous Valley Pike at Woodstock, Va., where it is proposed to erect the monument to General Muhlenberg, an official count of the Virginia State Highway Department showed an average of 1,119 automobiles from other States passed through Woodstock each day during the fiscal year ending July 1, 1937.

As General Muhlenberg rendered such great services to our Nation and received for them such small reward, the committee feels confident that the Congress and the country will esteem it a privilege at this late date to rear to him this monument of its gratitude.

[ocr errors]



APRIL 28, 1938.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. KELLER, from the Committee on the Library, submitted the



[To accompany H. J. Res. 656)

The Committee on the Library, to whom was committed the resolution (H. J. Res. 656) to provide for the erection of a memorial to the memory of Newton D. Baker, have considered the same and respectfully submit this report with recommendation that the bill do pass with the following amendment:

In the third line, strike out the amount "$55,000" and insert in lieu thereof “$25,000”.

The necessity and reason for the enactment of this resolution, as viewed by the committee, arises from the considerations hereinafter set forth.

Mr. Newton D. Baker was born in Martinsburg, W. Va. He attended school there, graduating from the high school in 1886. After receiving his LL. B. degree, he returned to Martinsburg to practice law and was admitted to the bar there.

In 1898, while returning from Europe, Mr. Baker met Judge Martin A. Foran, judge in Cleveland, Ohio, and this acquaintance resulted in his going with the law firm of which he was a member up to the time of his death.

Mr. Baker was very active in the city government of Cleveland and served as city solicitor there for several years. He was elected mayor in 1913 and served until 1915.

Shortly after President Wilson's election, he called upon the services of Newton D. Baker to serve as Secretary of War, and he took the oath of office on March 9, 1916. Secretary of War Baker, the student and man of peace, was staggered by the declaration of war on April 6, 1917. By this act, the burden of war fell upon his shoulders as well as the marshaling of manpower and military resources. In addition to this, it became necessary that the Secretary of War organize and create medical departments, recreational agencies and the development of industry for the carrying on and protection of the United States.

During the World War Secretary Baker made two trips to France, and during these visits he was received with the highest honors possible to bestow upon an American citizen. He became internationally known for his brilliant guidance of our national destiny during those troublesome times.

During his busy lifetime Mr. Baker kept the city of Martinsburg close to his heart and never failed to attend civic functions there. He was one of the first members of the Martinsburg High School Alumni Association and maintained this membership throughout his life. Being a student, he was particularly interested in the development of a public library in the city of Martinsburg and acted as chairman for the first public meeting in the sponsoring of a library.

The service Newton D. Baker rendered this country was so valuable and his interest in his boyhood home so genuine that the committee feels it is fitting and proper that a suitable memorial be erected to his memory at that place. This proposal also has the approval of the Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »