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Remarks by Representative Cooley
Of North Carolina
Mr. Speaker, in our time giants have walked the face of the earth.
CLARENCE CANNON, of Missouri, was one among them.
In an early hour of Tuesday, May 12, 1964, this great man departed this earth to join the immortals.
Mr. Speaker, in physical stature, CLARENCE CANNON was perhaps the littlest of the giants, but in spirit, in fierce devotion to duty, fidelity to truth, intellect, honesty, and courage, he towered as tall as any. He distinguished himself in the service of his country and to all mankind.
This Missourian was one of the rising powers in the Congress when I came to the House of Representatives in 1934.
Well do I remember in those days, when I first arrived in Washington in the depth of the great depression, and later during the Second World War, I was struck with the feeling of greatness in the men upon whom, in those times of great crisis, the responsibility had been entrusted to keep the beacon lights of democracy burning in our own country and in lands beyond the seas.
Mr. Speaker, in times of peril, the good Lord above us has blessed this country with great men, to lead us and to show
I count among God's blessings to us CLARENCE CANNON, of Missouri.
In a lifetime spanning 85 years he was teacher, lawyer, author, parliamentarian, legislator, statesman.
He was the hardest working man I have every known. He labored with dedication, devotion, and with a passion, on the ramparts of individual freedom, honesty, and constitutional government.
This man was the watchdog of the Treasury of the United States. He was the embodiment of the Nation's conscience
on fiscal responsibility. He served as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, where all Federal money bills originate, longer than any other man in all our history.
But, Mr. Speaker, CLARENCE CANNON's greater and burning passion was government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
His name will be known in all time to come, at home and in the far corners of the earth, for his monumental works in behalf of representative government, which is the source and the protector of all human liberties in all nations where freedom prevails.
He was the author of "A Synopsis of the Procedure of the House," "Cannon's Procedure in the House of Representatives," "Cannon's Procedure," "Convention Parliamentary Manual,” as well as numerous treatises on parliamentary law, and was editor and compiler of "Precedents of the House of Representatives.”
This Missourian was to the U.S. House of Representatives what Sir Thomas Erskine May, the author of "Parliamentary Practice," first published in 1844, was to the English House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker, our own country and the world are paying a tribute of gratitude to CLARENCE CANNON. Whenever and wherever men enjoy or aspire to liberty and freedom through representative government, on down through the years, his name will be spoken.
I cannot close these remarks without mention of my personal devotion to CLARENCE CANNON, of Missouri. This grew principally from our common interest in the agriculture of the Nation and in the people who feed us.
This great man was a son of the soil. Throughout all of his mature years, regardless of all of his other achievements, and they were many, he preferred to be identified simply as "a dirt farmer.” He was always a farmer, on his own land. He was proud of this, beyond all else.
Moreover, CLARENCE CANNON was one of the great champions of agriculture and of the farm families of his district and of all America.
Mr. Speaker, this statesman's interest in our farm people was nowhere expressed in more convincing eloquence than before the House Committee on Agriculture in his frequent appearances before this committee.
Perhaps his last plea in behalf of our farm people was made before the Conservation and Credit Subcommittee of the Committee on Agriculture on March 17, 1964, when he appeared as a witness in behalf of the cause of conservation of our soil and water resources. I feel that it is fitting now to quote excerpts from his testimony on that day and in that place, as follows:
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I deeply appreciate the privilege of appearing before this subcom. mittee. In my opinion, probably, this Committee on Agriculture is the most important committee of the House under present circumstances, because it deals with one of the most fundamental questions domestically affecting the country today.
It was called to my attention recently—and I know that the members of this committee who make a study of this subject are more familiar with it than I am—it was called to my attention recently that whenever a man is driven off the farm that a businessman is driven out of the adjacent small town. And as we decreased the population on the farms the market for everything produced by the cities is necessarily correspondingly constricted.
Now, all of our legislation these days, all of our political plea in the country is for jobs, jobs. Everything that we have, every expenditure which is proposed, is to remove money from the Treasury to make jobs, to create jobs. Well, gentlemen, we are overlooking the greatest market that could be provided.
The farmer is not a hoarder. All of his income is immediately expended. It is expended for those commodities which support the factories which produce jobs.
He (the farmer) is the only man in America who has no control over his prices.
But when the farmer drives up to the market with his products, the only question he asks is, How much do you pay today? No matter what they are paying, no matter how inadequate it might be, no matter how badly it leaves the farmer in the red, he takes that price or else he has to haul it back home. They pay him whatever they desire to pay or decide to pay.
It is notably unfair and inequitable, and it is notably inadequate.
So that the importance of the work of this committee is such that it is of great service to the Nation, and it cannot be overemphasized.
Mr. Speaker, such was the man we honor here today, the world's greatest authority on parliamentary practice in his time, and a man who never lost the common touch, in his love and devotion to his people back home.
CLARENCE CANNON, indeed, was one among the giants of our time.
Today we mourn that he has departed from us.
To his charming and gracious wife, Ida, who was his lifelong inspiration, and to all the members of his family, I extend my warm and sincere sympathy and express the hope that the love of his friends will soften their sorrow.
Remarks by Representative Lesinski
Mr. Speaker, as our society grows more and more complex, greater emphasis is placed on conformity and less and less on individuality which was the foundation of our Nation's greatness.
But in the midst of this conformity, there still rise individuals who make their significant mark in the history of our Nation. One such individual was CLARENCE CANNON.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I was privileged to work with him. Always I found him to be receptive and courteous. And we all know his diligence to his responsibilities as chairman of that committee.
CLARENCE CANNON will be missed, but his work as a legislator and as a parliamentarian will stand as a lasting memorial to him.