Caswell County Genealogy

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Wednesday, September 10 [1828].

For the Recorder.

At a meeting of the Orange Bar, held at the Court House on Monday the 8t inst. after the adjournment of court, his honor Judge Ruffin was called to the chair, and John W. Norwood acted as secretary. Mr. Nash rose and thus explained the subject of the meeting.

We are met, sir, to pay as a body our tribute of respect to the memory of our deceased friend and brother Bartlett Yancey. I hold in my hand certain resolutions to this effect, but before I lay them before you, I beg to retain you with a few remarks. It is now, I think, twenty years or more since my acquaintance with Mr. Yancey commenced. He was then just entered into the profession -- young, unknown, and poor; but by a steady attention to business, and vigorous prosecution of his profession, he had built up for himself a name and a fortune. At the time of his death he was no longer unknown or poor. Though still a young man, as a professional man we all have known him; you and I sir, for a longer space of time than any other member of this bar with one exception, and we have know him as a high minded, honorable man.

Like some, he was excelled in the powers of reasoning, and by others in the grace of oratory, by none was he surpassed in that plain practical good sense, which rendered him eminently successful as a jury lawyer. In a short time after he had been in the practice of the law, the district in which he resided chose him as its representative in the congress of the United States, and here Mr. Yancey took a high and distinguished status; his practical talents soon brought him forward and placed him at the head of one of the most important committees of the house of representatives. This status he continued to occupy while a member of the house. But in a few years he was admonished, that however alluring the path of political life might be, it did not, in this country lead to wealth, and that the time had not yet arrived to him, when justice to his family would permit him to devote himself to the general politics of his country.

He resigned his seat in congress, returned to the discharge of his professional duties, and never, I believe, in this country, did more abundant and rapid success crown the efforts of any individual. But though his private affairs drew him from congress, they did not forbid his taking an active share in the domestic politics of his native state. At the united voice of the citizens of Caswell, the county in which he was born and raised, he took his seat in the senate of our legislature, and was, upon his appearing among them, with one voice called to preside over its deliberations. And here, sir, as speaker of the senate, Bartlett Yancey was in his appropriate sphere. Nature had, in a peculiar manner, fitted him for the station. Dignified in his appearance, he filled the chair with grace; prompt to decide, little time was lost in debating questions referred to the chair; and energetic in enforcing order, the most unruly became obedient; fair, candid, and impartial, all were satisfied, and so entirely so, that from the period of his first election to the chair no effort was once made to disturb his possession of it. Even those who, in other respects, differed from and opposed him, as a speaker admitted he was without reproach, and that he gave dignity to that body. But it was not alone as speaker of the senate that Mr. Yancey was useful to his native state as a legislator. He was too sound a politician not to perceive the true policy of the state. Ardently attached to the land of his birth, his constant effort was to elevate her in the moral and political scale. Whenever a measure was brought before the legislature, which in his estimation had these objects in view, he fearlessly threw himself and all his wealth of character into the ranks of its friends, and with as full contempt of consequences he never failed to frown upon and oppose all those wild measures of misrule which have from time to time agitated the legislature of hour state.

Such, sir, was Bartlett Yancey as a politician. He is gone, and greatly do I fear the state at large will have cause to morn his death. But, sir, there is another point of view in which I wish to present to you the death of our departed friend. He has spoken to us from the chair of office; permit him to speak to us from the bed of death. We have listened to the eloquence which has guided senates and enlightened juries; let us now listen to the mute eloquence of the grave. But a few months since, and Bartlett Yancey stood upon the spot I now occupy, but a few days since, and he also now addressed you mingled in debate with him, and upon the termination of the weekly labour, we shook each other by the hand and bade God speed. Little did we think that interview would terminate our mortal intercourse. Little did we think that the arrow was sped which was to lay one of us on the dust. . . .

And on and on.

The Hillsborough Recorder (Hillsborough, North Carolina), Wednesday, 10 September 1828.

Bartlett Yancey, Jr., Tribute

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