« AnteriorContinuar »
has given his attention to public objects, in 1837, he made himself thoroughly designed to advance science, the arts, acquainted with all the details connectcommercial intercourse, the dissemina- ed with the subject, and was soon pretion of useful knowledge, and to facili- pared with a mass of information, tate the practical labors of the depart- which had an influence upon the action ments. Few men have accomplished of that body. In 1839, he presented as much in these important respects a report upon the quality of the differas he has done, in the course of four ent materials used in the construction years' Congressional service; and he of the public buildings at Washingtonhas laid the foundations of good that urging the policy and eventual econowill mature gradually hereafter, as my of substituting marble or granite views and suggestions, truly enlighten- for the fragile and porous sandstone ed, and worthy a practical republican hitherto used. He demonstrated the people and government, shall be propriety of the change with such brought to the popular consideration force as to break down the opposition and action of Congress."
to the white marble, of which he proRepresenting a portion of the great posed that the new General Post Office agricultural State of New-York—from building should be constructed. “It is his youth taught to look upon the to the untiring perseverance of this farming interest as the paramount pur- gentleman, (said the Washington suit in this country, and coming from Globe,) that we are mainly indebted a district where å very large propor- for this beautiful specimen of the metion of the inhabitants find their pro- chanic arts." And it may truly be fession, their pleasures and profits in said that this beautiful edifice, unsurthe noble employment of cultivating passed by anything of the kind in the the soil, it must be supposed that the world, is his monument. practical and utilitarian mind of Col. Upon investigating the condition of Pratt would dedicate a due share of the several departments, Col. Pratt its attention to the interests of agricul- found that the buildings now used by ture. He originated the proposition, the War and Navy Departments are towhich was finally adopted by Con- tally inadequate to the wants of the gorgress, providing for the introduction, ernment, showing a state of things which through our consuls and national ves no good business man would suffersels, of foreign seeds and plants, and not a single fire-proof building among for their gratuitous distribution to all them-at the same time a surplus in portions of the country, through the the treasury. His report upon that medium of the patent office. The subject shows that these departments beneficial effects of this measure have were at that time actually renting ninealready begun to be appreciated. ty-four private rooms in the city of
In 1842, Col. Pratt delivered an ad- Washington, at an annual expense of dress before the Mechanic's Institute some $6000, for the accommodation of at Catskill, replete with excellent senti- the different bureaux, which could not ments; and in 1815, at the great fair of find room in the present Executive the Greene County Agricultural Society buildings. He proposed, therefore, that at Cairo, he delivered an address which, the evil, and the danger of loss to the had we the space to allow it, we would public archives, should be remedied by gladly spread before the readers of the the erection of new edifices for those Review. Few productions of the kind departments, corresponding in style ever received more general commenda- and convenience to the General Post tion or a wider circulation.
Office. The necessity of these buildColonel Pratt's services in Congress ings is apparent to every one, and sooner were eminently practical. Placed up or later col. Pratt's suggestions will be on the committee on Public Buildings, carried out.f
* Albany Argus.
† As an illustration of the perseverance of Col. Pratt, when he has any useful object in view, it may be mentioned, that when be urged his proposition for building anew the War and Navy Departments, a Southern member of distinguished ability and influence, who was opposed to the bill, objected, because, he said, the committee had not submitted with their report the necessary plans and estimates. Col. Pratt reminded the gentleman that his objection must fall to the ground, as the plan and estimates were before the House; and taking them from the clerk's desk, he exhibited them to the objecting member ; and the House, laughing at his
Of the cheap postage reform, Col. importance, introduced by Col. Pratt, Pratt was one of the earliest advocates, and adopted by Congress, was that moving a resolution to that effect, in which requires an inventory of the 1838; and the information and statistics public property in the hands of the which he brought to bear upon the public agents, to be made out once in question, contributed in no small degree two years, and reported to Congress. to the ultimate success of the measure. The cost of the Custom-House estaHe submitted a valuable report on the blishment early attracted Col. Pratt's improvement of the public grounds at attention, and he caused to be prepared Washington, together with a beautiful at the Treasury, a statement, exhibitdesign for a National Monument to ing the amount of duties accruing upon Washington. He proposed to aid the merchandize, and duties upon tonnage, Washington Monument Society, who together with the cost of collection, so have now a fund exceeding $50,000, by compiled as to represent the amounts giving them the proceeds of the sales and cost, by states and territories, for of certain vacant and unproductive lots each year, from the foundation of the in the city, which can never be needed government to 1843. From the docufor the public use.
He advocated with ment thus prepared, it appears that a hearty zeal the remission of the fine the whole amount of revenue colpaid by the patriot Jackson, and pre- lected in the United States, from imsented a table showing the overwhelm- ports and tonnage, from 1789 to the ing voice by which the people, through 30th June, 1843, was nine hundred and their legislative bodies, had demanded forty-five millions, seren hundred and this act of justice to the Hero of New- fifty-three thousand, two hundred and Orleans.
fifteen dollars ; and that the cost of colIn both Congresses of which he was lecting this amount of revenue, was a member, Col. Pratt was an earnest ad- forty millions, four hundred and thirtyvocate of, and introduced the bill for the five thousand, six hundred and ninetyestablishment of a Branch Mint in New- two dollars. York, the commercial emporium of the But the great measure to which country, where seven-tenths of the re- Colonel Pratt directed his attention, venue are collected, and into which and urged upon that of Congress, was city a large portion of the importation the establishment of a Bureau of Staof foreign coin is brought. We pre- tistics. In every enlightened nation of sent (said he) the singular anomaly of a modern times (said he) except ours, the republican government forcing its citi- government has given especial atzens to be anti-American in coin-a tention to this subject. England has her greater portion of our specie circula- Board of Trade ; France, her Bureau tion being in foreign money.
de Commerce ; Austria, her Statistical The fund which has arisen from the Bureau ; the States of the German fees for patents issued at Washington, Customs' League have committed the now amounts to nearly $150,000.- subject to persons every way compeCol. Pratt introduced a resolution to tent to the charge; and the efforts of provide for the publication and engraving the Russian Government to collect staof all the important inventions patented tistical information from every part of at Washington, for the purpose of hav- that immense empire, are worthy of ing copies of those works distributed all praise. The United States seem to every town throughout the country, to have been working their way in the for the information of the people. dark, or at least with uncertain and
Another resolution, of great practical partial lights, derived from isolated
objections, immediatelv passed the bill. Before the inanguration of Mr. Polk, Col. Pratt urged the House for an appropriation to provide new furniture for the Presidential Mansion. The old curtains and furniture were worn and shabby. The House seemed reluctant to respond, when Col. Pratt took the responsibility of ordering a new suit of curtains to be fur. nished, telling the upholsterer that if Congress did not pay the bill he would. The thing was done. A few days after, a Sonthern member complained of Col. Pratt that he had acted without authority. The Colonel promptly replied that he had ordered the curtains on his own authority, and if objections were made from any quarter, he should pay for them from his own funds. And he would respectfully ask the objecting member if he had ever done as much for his country as that? The laugh was turned upon the member, and the appropriation asked for was passed.
facts, or statements hastily gathered by ure. We hope to see the outline of incompetent mon, or from erroneous Col. Pratt's plan filled up in every or unauthentic sources. It was right particular, and the bureau rendered to expect that so palpable a deficiency every way competent to meet the would attract the attention of the busi- great purposes of its establishment. It ness portion of the National Legisla- would, doubtless, be the means of sayture, and that measures would be taken ing millions to the country. to supply it. Col. Pratt, in January, We regret that we have not room to 1844, moved the preparatory inquiry, follow out in detail the various importhrough a select committee ; and on tant measures brought forward by 8th March presented a luminous re- Col. Pratt while in Congress. To port in favor of the establishment of do so, and do justice to him, would the Bureau, with a bill prescribing its require a volume. The accompanying organization, duties, &c. The report list of reports, which he made to the was accompanied by several elaborate 28th Congress, will give some idea of statistical tables, illustrating the plan of his indefatigable industry; they cover the proposed bureau, and the mode of more than a thousand pages. At the rendering efficient and serviceable its close of that Congress, Col. Pratt deoperations. The public press through- clined a re-election, in a very able adout the Union was unanimous, and the dress to his constituents, rendering a community appeared to be equally so, faithful account of his stewardship ;* in favor of the plan. The only step, and is now engaged in the business of however, which Col. Pratt could in- a banker at Prattsville. He is still in duce Congress to take, was to provide, by the prime of life, enjoying unbroken joint resolution, for the transfer of three health, and full of mental and bodily clerks, and their employment upon vigor, and has every prospect of living this service, in connection with one of to achieve much good, as he possesses the bureaux of the Treasury Depart- both the power and the will so to do. ment. Insufficient as this half-way It may be said of him, that the great measure is, it is gratifying to kno at object of his life has been practical one step has been taken towards the usefulness. He desired to leave the accomplishment of this truly great na- world something better than he found tional object. Even this small begin- it. He has been eminently successful ning, if competent men be placed in in all his enterprises-has preserved a charge, will ere long furnish proof of character spotless for integrity and honthe importance, economy, and great or-and in the relations of a neighbor practical utility of the proposed meas- and friend has no superior. As a citi
* "In those matters of legislation relating to the country at large, in which I have borne a part, the PRACTICALLY USEFUL, however I may have come short of it, has been my constant aim. And in estimating what was or would be practically useful, I have looked to the fature as well as to the present. I have thought that, in a country like ours, which may be said as yet hardly to have commenced its career, no legislation conld be wise which did not look to the future, provide for its probable wants, take care of its appareat interests, and ward off its apparent dangers.
“ Politically democratic, elected by democrats, and firmly believing that the principles and policy of the democratic party are in strict accordance with the nature of our institations, and best calculated to secure our liberty and promote onr prosperity, the journals will show that, in the four years of my services, that policy and those principles have never lacked my sanction or my support.
" Believing also that I was bound to serve you faithfully as well as usefully, I have endeavored as far as possible to devole my whole time to the daties of a station which I owed to your kindness. I have considered myself as the servant of the people, and bound in honor and in conscience to labor as diligently as every good and faithful servant' should. Hence, during the four years and as many sessions, in which I have had the honor to be your representative, I have neder, even for a single day, been absent from my post and my duty. I feel, therefore, whatever may have been my other faults, that indolence or negligence has not been among their number. Wrong I may have done ; mistaken I may have been ; but I have never neglected to do. In short, I have been governed by the same rales in attending to your business which have ever governed me in regard to my own. Many of you know full well the difficulties which I have encountered and overcome in establishing among the hemlock forests of the Catskill mountains one of the largest tanneries and thriftiest villages of which our state can boast. Many of you also know that I commenced this task only some twenty years ago, and with little other capital or aid than were to be found in industry, perseverance, and a proper devotion to that useful though homely maxim-.Be always sure you're right, then go ahead.'"-Extract from Col. Pratt's Address, March 5, 1845.
zen, he has done much for the public late? If we look back to his youth, good, and as a sound, practical, un we see him toiling to aid his parents, swerving democrat, has never been then the faithful apprentice to a saddler, found wanting
always diligent, trusty and true. We In selecting the founder of Prattsville see him as he approached manhood exas the subject of this memoir, we have hibiting the energy and perseverance been actuated by a desire to do merited which have marked his character honor to that noble and enterprising through life. As the business man, we spirit, which marks the characteristic of see with what sterling integrity, admithe man, and to spread before the rising rable judgment and sagacity, always generation of our great and happy successful, from little to much, his afcountry, the benefits of his example. fairs were conducted; how he breasted, He stands out in bold relief, first ma- himself to every emergency, relying king his fortune in active business, and upon his own resolute heart and never then aiding in the councils of his coun idle hand, and the blessing of God, who try, and of him it was said, none more has promised to help those who help useful. History is said to be philosophy themselves. We have seen him toiling teaching by example, and history after for a competence that he might do good, all is but the records of the deeds of aiding others as he went along. We men. The life of the hero, who has led have seen with what courage he could conquering armies, may be written, and endure the severest labors and expowhile every one may honor his bravery sures, even sleeping upon the snow, in not one in a million can hope to benefit pursuit of objects which he deemed esfrom his example. The lives of states- sential to his prosperity and future usemen, of poets, and philosophers, what fulness. Conceiving the plan of estabare they, unless they show something lishing a great tannery, we see him practical to the world, something true plunging into the deep forests on the and tangible, adapted to the feelings and Catskill, and choosing with admirable pursuits of the masses? The life of one judgment a location for his works, practical man, like Franklin, or White which is unrivalled, and can never NEY, SLATER, or Fulton, is worth more again be equalled. This great estabthan all the Greek and Roman heroes lishment, under his auspices and persethat ever existed. These men became vering energy, we have seen grow up world-renowned, because they possess- to be the largest of the kind in the ed, in an eminent degree, true energy, world. Not only so, but we have seen which, after all, is one of the chief ele- this humble, pains-taking, laboring mements of greatness.
Their characters chanic, almost with a magician's wand, were self-formed—they rose from the erect a beautiful and prosperous town, masses, and as you follow them step by in every public building and religious step, you see how they rose gradually institution of which are seen the marks to distinction; how the benefits they at of bis liberality. We have seen him last conferred on mankind grew up to building his hundred houses—the poor perfection in the school of early trial, boy, whose first money was earned in self-reliance, and never-failing energy. picking huckle-berries upon the Catskill We have the best of all authority for Mountains. When he came to settle saying, that "Faith without Works is in the little valley where the village dead.” If this be true in spiritual things, now stands, he told the few inhabitants it is equally true in temporal. The that he came to live among them, not world is full of visionaries, and accounts upon them. He has kept good his of visionary men; but how little is writ- word. He has accumulated a large ten of the useful, practical, energetic, fortune, never by impeding, but rather common-sense man.
aiding the course of others-never pulWe regard the career of ZADOCK ling down any man, and without ever Pratt as in many respects a remarka- making a single enemy of any honorable one, and therefore we have chosen ble man. him for the subject of this memoir. If It has been said, that one of the best it be asked, what has he done? we governors who ever ruled in Massachumight almost be disposed to answer by setts, was an uneducated man. He was asking, what has he not done that the practical and sound in his views; young men of the country should emu- know the rights of the people, and re
spected thein ; knew their wants, and, lation and of the people. We have as far as possible, provided for them. seen that he labored in this great field, To him belongs the glory of first intro- as he has always done, for the true inducing free schools into that colony. terests of the farmer and mechanic, and Col. Pratt, though enjoying no advan- for the working classes generallytages of early education, is not insensi- proving himself equal to his business, ble to its importance, and has always and never above it, here or elsewhere. been the fast friend and liberal patron As the light and vivifying rays of the of schools and institutions of learning, sun bring forth the early blossoms and morality and religion. As a military rich fruits of the earth, scattering plenman, we have seen bim ever the friend ty and blessings around-so may it of the soldier, and standing up nobly truly be said, that the honesT MAN, for the soldier's rights, and always the who determines to be useful, and perfavorite of his company or regiment. severes against whatever obstacle, We have seen him as the magistrate giving employment to, and aiding the and supervisor respected, and horored efforts of those around him, is the alas the choice for the people for elector moner of God's bounty to his fellow of President and Vice-President, and And it is no deterioration of the twice elected, with uncommon unan merits of the hero, the statesman, or imity, to the Congress of the United the politician, to say, that the straightStates. In that great body, we have forward USEFUL MAN, upright, enerseen him nobly sustain his character getic, and liberal, is the noblest of of the working Nan, earning the re- them all —" an honest man's the nospect of all parties, and having the most blesı work of God.” Such a man is entire confidence of his own. In short, ZADOCK Pratt; and his examples of we have seen him fill with distinguish- industry and fidelity, perseverance and ed ability the three positions of Far- public spirit, as well as generosity, we mer, Banker, and Legislator. Well, would recommend to the observation then, may it be said of him, that no of the youth of our land. Of him it man did more for the good of the peo- may be truly said, when we review his ple ; and when the judgment of the plain, unostentatious and honorable cacountry shall be pronounced on his la- reer-marked by liberality in thought bors, it will be shown that no man ori- and deed—that he is one of “ Nature's ginated so many great and important Noblemen"—an architect of his own measures, whether we regard them in fortunes-and truly a MAN OF THE the light of economy, or of their ulti- PEOPLE. mate effect upon the interests of legis
Memorandum of Reports submitted to the House of Representatives during the 284k
Congress, by the Hon. Zadock Pratt.
March 7, 1844. No. 286.-Negative re- May 25, 1844. No. 515—Report on the
port on the application of the Mayor of expenditures since 1800, in the District Washington, for a public clock, to be of Columbia. The facts embodied in placed upon the Patent Office.
this report are exceedingly interesting. March 7, 1844. No. 267.-Report on the They show all the items of expenditure,
public buildings and grounds, showing the whole amounting, on the 3d March, the condition of the Executive Depart 1843, to $10,032,425. The Capitol, in. ments, and the importance of pro cluding the statuary and paintings, cost viding additional accommodations for about $3,000,000; the President's house the War and Navy Departments.
and Treasury building, each $700,000; March 8, 1844. No. 301.-Report on the the Patent Office, and General Post Office,
establishment of a Bureau of Statistics each $500.000, in round numbers. All and Commerce, submitting a plan for the public property in Washington is exits efficient organization, accompanied empt from city taxes. Besides the public by elaborate statistical tables, illustrating edifices there, the government owns in the great importance of the proposed President's square, 83 acres ; Capitol
square and Mall, 227 acres; Park, 29 May 24, 1844. No. 516.-Report on the acres; and in other squares, 202 acres;
practicability of making alterations in besides 1582 lots in various parts of tho the Hall of the House of Representatives. city, valued in 1844, at $182,000.