Senator Edward Patrick McManus View All Years
EDWARD P. M’MANUS.
Senator Frailey, from a special committee, submitted the following report and moved its adoption:
Mr. President—Your committee appointed to prepare resolutions commemorating the life, character and public services of Edward P. McManus, beg leave to submit the following report:
Edward P. McManus, member of the Iowa Senate from Lee county in the Thirty-second, Thirty-third, Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth General Assemblies, was born at Keokuk, Lee county, Iowa, on the 20th day of June, 1857, and died at Keokuk on the 8th day of January, 1918. His death came suddenly and without warning while engaged in his duties as postmaster at Keokuk postoffice. The last days of his life were the busiest. In addition to his official duties as postmaster and his private affairs, he devoted much time and labor to various war activities, being chairman of the Lee County Council of Defense and county food administrator. The exactions of these manifold duties contributed in no small degree to his untimely death.
The life of Edward P. McManus was crowded with many and varied activities. He was successively traveling salesman, farmer, country school teacher, state senator, managing head of successful stone quarries and postmaster. Throughout his entire life he evinced a keen interest in politics. It was the game and not the spoils that appealed to him. Always a staunch democrat, it was only in the later years of his life that he sought or would accept preferment for himself.
Few men in Iowa had a larger acquaintance or more friends than he. His warm Irish heart beat in sympathy with all of God’s creatures. His generous nature rejoiced in the triumphs and pleasures of others and suffered in their misfortunes. The old and the young, the rich and the poor, came to him with their troubles and sought his counsel and guidance. A hundred stories might be told of his tender regard for the aged and friendless; of the young men who have found a new spirit and resolution in his words of encouragement; of the poor and destitute whose appeals his generous heart never ignored. To his funeral came the old crippled woman whom others had thoughtlessly passed, but he had left his work to help her down a dangerous stair; came the victim of drink or circumstances who had gone to him in despair and left with courage to make the fight anew; came the little boys and girls who loved him because he loved them and noticed them and played with them. All of these passed by his open casket and dropped a flower or a tear, knowing that each had lost a friend.
Brann, the iconoclast, once said that the place to find the true worth of a man is at his fireside, for there he lays his mask aside and you may tell whether he be imp or angel, king or cur. Edward P. McManus wore no mask. The gentleness that marked his relation with his fellow man was emphasized in his home. The qualities that won the regard and affections of neighbors and friends, made him thrice loved by his family. His home life was ineffably beautiful. His happiest hours were those spent in the family circle rollicking with his grandchildren, and imparting from his pure and wholesome spirit a perpetual benediction.
Optimism was the touchstone of his life. He was an evangel of good cheer who carried the gospel of sunshine into hearts that were desolate and weary. He loved his fellow man. He believed in him and trusted him and found virtues where others could find nothing but fault. No man ever reached that state of wretchedness or degradation that he could not find some redeeming part in him.
With these rare qualities of heart and mind he combined a native wit and an eloquent tongue. Although he avoided public speaking, his fame as an orator was more than local. Nature endowed him with a deep resonant voice, and that rarest of faculties, the power to move men from laughter to tears. His public addresses, like his private utterances bristled with humor and he could touch heights of fancy and sentiment that poetry seldom reaches.
No man loved the beautiful things of nature and life more than he, and none more thoroughly detested the vulgar. His scrap book contains a rare collection of literary gems culled with discriminating taste from his reading. He loved to preserve and commit to memory beautiful passages from poetry and prose which he would frequently recite to the delight of his family and friends. His nature was so sensitive to suffering and pain of others that he studiously shunned hospitals, for the sight of a fellow being in misery affected him keenly and often brought tears to his eyes.
Of all the qualities that he possessed, none so thoroughly marked him with his nobility as his veneration for womanhood. He idolized his wife; his mother he deified. The unsung heroism of motherhood awakened in him an appreciation that he frequently expressed in public and in private. Upon more than one occasion he has taken his pen in hand and written an anonymous tribute to some poor mother who had died unnoticed after a life of silent sacrifice. His sense of justice was shocked that such a life should pass unmentioned, while extravagant praise was heaped upon the less worthy.
Is it strange that when this noble spirit left its earthly abode, it seemed to take with it out of the world apart of the joy and happiness of life? Is it strange that the flowers are not quite so fragrant, that there is a touch of sadness in the song of the bird, and that the sun itself, has lost some of its radiance to those he loved?
JOSEPH R. FRAILEY,
A. V. PROUDFOOT,
BYRON W. NEWBERRY,