Roger Q. Mills

Roger Quarles Mills (March 30, 1832 – September 2, 1911) was an American lawyer and politician. During the American Civil War, he served as an officer in the Confederate States Army. Later, he served in the US Congress, first as a representative and later as a senator.

Roger Quarles Mills
Roger Q. Mills - Brady-Handy
United States Senator
from Texas
In office
March 30, 1892 – March 4, 1899
Preceded byHorace Chilton
Succeeded byCharles A. Culberson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1883 – March 29, 1892
Preceded byJohn Hancock
Succeeded byDavid B. Culberson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1883
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byEdwin Le Roy Antony
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
In office
1859-1860
Personal details
BornMarch 30, 1832
Todd County, Kentucky
DiedSeptember 2, 1911 (aged 79)
Corsicana, Texas
Resting placeOakwood Cemetery[1]
Corsicana, Texas
Political partyDemocratic
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Branch/service Confederate States Army
Years of service1861–1865
RankConfederate States of America Colonel.png Colonel
Unit3rd Texas Cavalry Regiment
Commands10th Texas Infantry Regiment
Deshler's Brigade
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Early life

Born in Todd County, Kentucky, he attended the common schools and moved to Texas in 1849. There, he studied law, passed the bar, and began practicing in Corsicana at the age of 20 after the Texas legislature made an exception to the usual age requirement.[2] He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1859 until 1860, when he enlisted in the Confederate States Army. He served throughout the Civil War and took part as a private in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, and as a colonel commanded the Tenth Texas Infantry at Arkansas Post, Chickamauga (where he commanded the brigade of Gen. James Deshler during part of the battle), Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta Campaign.

US Representative

He was then elected as a Democrat to the US House of Representatives and served from 1873 to 1892. In 1891, Mills was a candidate in the Democratic caucus for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, but he was defeated by Charles F. Crisp (1845–1896) of Georgia.

In the 1880s, when Prohibition sentiment was rising in Texas, Mills refused to make any political concessions. Reportedly, he declared in one speech, "If lightning were to strike all the drunkards, there would not be a live Prohibition party in Texas." (Mills claimed to have been misquoted and that he had said "there would not be many [members of the party] left.") Elsewhere, he was said to have vowed, "A good sluice of pine top whiskey would improve the morals of the Dallas [Prohibition] convention and the average Prohibitionist." (Mills again offered a correction and insisted that he had not used the words "average Prohibitionist.").[3]

Mills quickly became noted as one of the ablest, if hottest-tempered, debaters on the Democratic side of the House and was commonly agreed.to be a man "possessed of the demon of work." The reporter Frank G. Carpenter described him as true as steel and unpretentious in dress: "He is tall, straight and big chested," he wrote in 1888. "The distance between the top button of his high vest and the small of his back is longer than the width of the shoulders of the ordinary man, and he has a biceps which, if put into training, would knock down an ox. He is a fighter, too, and goes into this Congressional struggle with a brain trained to warfare.... He is a successful man, and one who inspires confidence."[4]

Chairmanship of the Committee on Ways and Means

Mills had made the tariff his special study and long been recognized as one of the leading authorities on the Democratic side. After the defeat of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman William Morrison in the 1886 election, Mills became the next chair of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means when the 50th Congress met. His selection, according to Idea Tarbell, a historian on the tariff, "was a red rag to the high protectionists, for Mr. Mills was an out-and-out free trader."[5] Debate over the tariff issue had been thrust upon the United States by President Grover Cleveland in his annual December message to Congress on December 6, 1887.[6] He requested for Congress to pass a drastic reduction of the tariff on many manufactured goods to promote trade and reduce the cost of living for ordinary citizens.[7] Indeed, Chairman Mills, using the Walker Tariff of 1846 as a guideline, had been drafting a bill since September 1887 that would address several of the proposals included by Cleveland in his December message. As it turned out, most of Mills's work went for naught, as he later explained: "When I got to work with my brethren on the bill I found that it would not go, and I had to abandon my ad valorem tariff bill. The schoolmaster had not been sufficiently around, to bring our people back to the Democratic principle of taxation as to value."[8] The bill became known as the "Mills Tariff Bill of 1888."[9] The Mills Bill was reported out of the Ways and Means Committee in April 1888.

The bill provided for a reduction of the duties on sugar, earthenware, glassware, plate glass, woolen goods and other articles; the substitution of ad valorem for specific duties in many cases; and the placing of lumber (of certain kinds), hemp, wool, flax, borax, tin plates, salt and other articles on the free list.[9] The bill looked likely to split the Democratic Party. Just two years previously, the high tariff wing of the Democratic Party had been able to muster 35 votes in the House.[10] However, the Mills Bill had now become so highly partisan that when the bill was passed by the Democratic House on July 21, 1888, only four Democratic representatives voted against it.[10] The high-tariff wing of the Democratic Party had largely been wiped out by the passage of the Mills Bill of 1888.

Although the Mills Bill passed the House, the Republican Senate amended it heavily, and it never passed into law. Instead, it became the chief issue in the 1888 presidential election. Critics warned that American manufacturers could not compete against the flood of manufactured goods from Britain, and campaign crowds marched the streets chanting, "No! no! no Free Trade!" (However, the bill was not anything close to being a free-trade measure but offered an average reduction of only seven percent, and many items were left untouched.) "If Mills of Texas does not shut down, many other mills will have to," a California newspaper warned.[11] In the 1888 election, Republican Benjamin Harrison, a strong high-tariff supporter lost the popular vote nationwide to Cleveland, but Harrison managed to narrowly win both swing states of New York and Indiana and so won the presidency in the Electoral College based, largely by the tariff issue.

Mills was known to have aspirations to be speaker after the retirement of John G. Carlisle. In late 1891, with the House returning to Democratic control, the Texas representative put himself in the running against Representative Charles Crisp from Georgia. Before the caucus met, Mills had 120 votes pledged to him, and if all of them had kept their word, he would have won, but only 105 did so on the final, thirtieth, ballot, against Crisp's 119. The reason, apparently, was that Mills refused to make deals.

Some two dozen members wanted a guarantee of specific committee assignments in return for their support, but Mills would have none of it. Reportedly, Representative William Springer of Illinois, who was also contending to be speaker, offered to drop out if Mills would appoint him chair of Ways and Means and was told gruffly to put his offer in writing. As a result, the night before the caucus voted, Springer withdrew on Crisp's behalf, and Crisp made him chairman of Ways and Means, subsequently. To Representative Tom Johnson of Cleveland, one of Mills's most earnest backers, the Texas representative's conduct looked like political insanity. "I wish you wouldn't be a fool," he burst out; "give me two chairmanships and ask me no questions and I will elect you on the next ballot." He got only a shake of the head in reply.[12]

Mills's problems, however, were deeper than his failure as a horse-trader. For one thing, his irascibility and the regularity with which he lost his temper made many of his party friends worry that he lacked the self-control necessary to be speaker. The party's job would be hard enough without what one newspaper called Mills's "tempestuous style."[13] His selection would have signaled that the Democratic Party's main agenda would be lowering the tariff drastically. Crisp was much less associated with tariff reform than with the coinage of free silver, which, to most Douthern Democrats, was the top issue by late 1891. Among the Silver Democrats, it did not help Mills to have former Cleveland's backing or, among those favoring the presidential nomination of Cleveland's rival, Senator David Bennett Hill of New York, that Hill threw his weight behind Crisp's candidacy, too.[14]

Mills took badly to his rejection, issuing a letter that was quickly made public that the Democratic Party had been hurt more than he by his rejection as well as threatening that "a large element that has been voting with us [would] abandon us" in the coming election unless those who had defeated him were met with rebuke by their party.[15]

US Senator

Mills was elected to the US Senate from Texas in 1892 to fill the vacant seat of John H. Reagan and continued to serve in that post until 1899.

In 1893, when President Grover Cleveland sought repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, Mills gave loyal support. Silver coinage was popular with both parties in Texas, and Democrats in particular felt that Mills had betrayed them. His action probably cost him re-election in 1898.

Other friends also noticed a change in him. His old colleague and co-worker in tariff reform, former Representative William L. Wilson of West Virginia, wrote in his diary in 1896, "Poor Mills, how he seems to have gone to pieces since the time when he was leading the tariff reform forces in the House, and a welcome and strong speaker on that great issue all over the country. Today he made one of the most extreme and wild jingo speeches in the Senate on the Cuban question that has marked the whole debate. Not less erratic has been his course for two years past on the financial question."[16]

Death and legacy

He died in Corsicana, Texas, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana.[1]

Roger Mills County, Oklahoma, was named after him.

References

  1. ^ a b "Roger Quarles Mills". Find A Grave. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Mills, Roger Quarles" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  3. ^ Myrtle Roberts, "Roger Quarles Mills," M. A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1929, pp. 49-50.
  4. ^ Frank G. Carpenter, in "Washington Critic," January 7, 1888.
  5. ^ Ida Tarbell, "The Tariff In Our Times" (New York: Macmillan, 1912), p. 155.
  6. ^ Crapol, Edward P., James G. Blaine: Architect of Empire (S.R. Books Publishing Co.: Wilmington, Delaware, 2000) p. 106
  7. ^ Nevins, Allan, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (Dodd, Mead and Co.: New York, 1933) p. 379
  8. ^ Nevins, Allan, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage, p. 372; Myrtle Roberts, "Roger Quarles Mills," M. A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1929, p. 77.
  9. ^ a b Nevins, Allan, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage, p. 389.
  10. ^ a b Nevins, Allan, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage, p. 393.
  11. ^ "Salem (Oregon) Daily Statesman," April 4, 1888.
  12. ^ Myrtle Roberts, "Roger Quarles Mills," M. A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1929, pp. 96-97.
  13. ^ "New York Evening Post," November 8, 1890.
  14. ^ Arthur W. Dunn, "From Harrison to Harding: A Personal Narrative," p. 78; Champ Clark, "My Quarter Century of American Politics" (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1920), 1: 273.
  15. ^ "San Francisco Examiner," January 9, 1892.
  16. ^ Summers, ed., "Cabinet Diary of William L. Wilson" (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1957), p. 51.

Sources

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's at-large congressional seat

1873–1875
Succeeded by
John Hancock
Preceded by
John Hancock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 4th congressional district

1875–1883
Succeeded by
David B. Culberson
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 9th congressional district

1883–1892
Succeeded by
Edwin Le Roy Antony
Political offices
Preceded by
William Ralls Morrison
Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means
1887–1889
Succeeded by
William McKinley
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Horace Chilton
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Texas
1892–1899
Served alongside: Richard Coke, Horace Chilton
Succeeded by
Charles A. Culberson
52nd United States Congress

The Fifty-second United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1891, to March 4, 1893, during the third and fourth years of Benjamin Harrison's presidency.

The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Tenth Census of the United States in 1880. The Senate had a Republican majority, and the House had a Democratic majority.

David B. Culberson

David Browning Culberson (September 29, 1830 – May 7, 1900) was a Confederate soldier, a Democratic U.S. Representative from Texas and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Dean of the United States House of Representatives

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Because of other privileges associated with seniority, the Dean is usually allotted some of the most desirable office space, and is generally either chair or ranking minority member of an influential committee.

It is unclear when the position first achieved concrete recognition, though the seniority system and increasing lengths of service emerged in the early 20th century. As late as 1924, Frederick H. Gillett was Dean, and also Speaker, before becoming a Senator. Modern Deans move into their positions so late in their careers that a move to the Senate is highly unlikely. When Ed Markey broke Gillett's record for time in the House before moving to the Senate in 2013 he was still decades junior to the sitting Dean.

The Deanship can change hands unexpectedly. In the 1952 election, Adolph J. Sabath became the first Representative elected to a 24th term, breaking the record of 23 terms first set by former Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon, whose service had been discontinuous, whereas Sabath's was not. North Carolina's Robert L. Doughton had not contested that election as he was retiring at the age of 89 years and two months, a House age record broken in 1998 by Sidney R. Yates, and again by Ralph Hall in 2012. Claude Pepper, who died early in his final term in 1989, held the record for oldest winner of a House election until Hall broke it in 2012. However, Sabath died before the new term began and Doughton was Dean for the old term's final months before Speaker Sam Rayburn became Dean in the new Congress.

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Appointed to the Senate upon John H. Reagan's resignation in 1891, Chilton was the first native Texan to serve in the United States Congress. Although he was defeated in the 1892 election for the seat, Chilton was elected to the Senate in 1894.

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Roger Mills

Roger Mills may refer to:

Roger H. Mills (1813–1881), American politician and lawyer in Connecticut

Roger Q. Mills (1832–1911), U.S. Representative and Senator from Texas

Roger Mills County, Oklahoma, named in his honor

Roger Mills (badminton), English badminton player, three times winner of the English National Badminton Championships in the 1960s

Roger Mills (racewalker) (born 1948), British race walker

Roger Mills (speedway rider) (born c.1950), British speedway rider

Roger W. Mills (born 1951), British economist

Roger Mills County, Oklahoma

Roger Mills County is a county located in the western part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,647, making it the third-least populous county in Oklahoma. Its county seat is Cheyenne. The county was created in 1891.Roger Mills county is located above the petroleum-rich Panhandle-Hugoton Field, making it one of the leading sources of oil, natural gas and helium. The county also overlies part of the Ogallala Aquifer.

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United States congressional delegations from Texas

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