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HARALSON, HUGH ANDERSON,
W AS born in the county of Green, in the State of Georgia, on the 13th day of November, 1805. He is the youngest son of Jonathan Haralson, who removed from North Carolina in 1783 to the place near Penfield, then a wilderness, where Hugh A. was born. Frugal and industrious, the father reared his children to those habits which were most calculated to insure their usefulness and success. Having been denied the opportunity of education himself, he labored to secure its advantages to his son. The elementary education of the latter was obtained at the ordinary county schools of the neighborhood, at such time as his services could best be spared from the farm. He was then prepared for college, first under the instruction of the Reverend Hermon L. Vail, and afterward of the Rever: end Carlisle P. Beman, both gentlemen of high qualifications. In the month of January, 1822, he was placed at Franklin Col. lege, Georgia, entering the freshman class. During his academic course, his vacations were spent on the farm with his faa ther, where his labor contributed to supply the means for the prosecution of his studies.
In August, 1825, he graduated, and immediately applied himself to the study of the law. In Georgia there is no time fixed by law for study as a prerequisite to admission to the bar. It is only necessary that a person intending to claim admission should prepare himself for an examination. The limited means of Mr. Haralson rendered it necessary that he should be diligent, and qualify himself for business without delay. By constant application, he was ready in six months to take his place among the members of an honorable profession. He had not yet attained the age of twenty-one years, and, until that time, he could not, without legislative interposition, be admitted to practice. Taking into consideration his circumstances and character, the Legislature passed a special act authorizing his exam. ination, and granting him permission to enter upon the duties of his profession. Though young, and entering a bar already crowded, yet he very soon had the good fortune to enjoy a lib). cral share of the business of the courts. It was his good fortune to command the friendship and respect of his associates, while he won the favor of the people.
In the winter of 18:28 he married Caroline M. Lewis, the danghter of Judge Nicholas Lewis, of Greensborough, Georgia, by whom he has, living, four daughters and one son.
After his marriage he removed from Monroe, Walton county, where he first entered upon his profession, to La Grange, Troup county, where lie has since resided.
Continuing the practice of the law with great success, he nevertheless devoted part of his time to agriculture, in which pursuit he was equally fortunate. He took a deep interest, however, in the political movements of the day. From his early youth he had been devoted to the political doctrines taught by Jefferson and Madison, and had always opposed any overcise of power on the part of the general government which he thought threatened to infringe on the rights of the States. In 1831 and in 1932 he was elected a member of the Legislature, where he maintained the principles he professed with abil. ity and firmness.
For a few years he withdrew from public life, in order to de. vote more time and attention to his private aflairs. He was, however, called from his retirement into the service of the state during the disastrous derangement of the monetary concerns of the country. Ils principles had always led him to oppose a Bank of the United States, ind the widespread issues of paper money. In 1837, as the well-known advocate of these opinions, he was elected to the Senate of his state, an oflice, the duties of which were so discharged by him as to secure his return to the same body in 1838, without opposition.
He had always manifesteil some partiality for military life ; and, during the Indian disturbances, was found, without being called, at the head of a company of citizen volunteers, atlorida ing relief and protection to the settlements. In the last year of his service in the Senate, he was elected, by the Legislature, to a major-general's command of militia, which command he still retains. In that character, immediately after the com. mencement of the Mexican war, he tendered his services to the governor of his state, and subsequently to the President of the United States.
In 1840, he exhibited the sincerity of his attachment to the political doctrines he professed, amid the denunciations of kindred and friends, whose love and respect he held but in little less estimation than his own character and honor. The expansion of paper money, the facility of credit, and a boundless rage for speculation, had involved the whole country in disasters, from which relief, in some shape, was anxiously sought. Without examining the causes of the prevailing distress, there were many persons who, concluding that no change could make the condition of things worse than it actually was, were prepared to adopt any expedient which might hold out even a hope of relief. Thousands upon thousands of former party-friends were clamorous for a new order of things. Old party-lines were broken down, and new party-names assumed. The State Rights party, with which General Haralson had hitherto acted, gave up the name of “ State Rights,” and assumed the name of “Whig." They soon became the friends and advocates of a Bank of the United States, a protective tariff, and other measures which, as State Rights men, it was said, they had always opposed. The general met with determined opposition this change of sentiment in his old associates and former political friends. The state, by an overwhelming vote, went in favor of the Whigs in 1840. In the campaign of 1842, the Democratic party selected their strongest men for the Congressional contest, and General Haralson was among them. The result was successful, and he was elected a representative of the state in the twenty-eighth Congress, by the general ticket system. In the controversy which followed (see title, HOWELL COBB], he took a prominent part in defending and vindicating what he conceived to be the clearly-defined rights of his state. Before the next succeeding Congressional election in 1844, the State of Georgia was divided into Congressional districts. The district in which General Haralson resides—known as the fourth-was organized with a Whig majority. He was, nevertheless, nominated by the Democratic party, and was elected by a large majority to the twenty-ninth Congress; and in 1846 he was elected for the third time.
Under the views entertained by Mr. Haralson of the princi. ples and policy of our government, he has felt it his duty to support the present administration in most of the measures it has proposed. We note, as an exception, the recommendation of the President, at the last session, for the appointment of a lieu. tenant-general to take command of all the forces in the field. That proposition met the decided disapprobation of Mr. Haralson; and while he regretted the necessity of differing from the administration and many of his political friends, yet a sense of duty, and the judgment he had formed of the interests of the public service, left him no alternative but to oppose this execu. tive project.
On the 4th of January, 1847, the President transmitted to the two houses of Congress the following message:
“ To the Senate and House of Representatives : “In order to prosecute the war against Mexico with vigor and success, it is necessary that authority should be promptly given by Congress to increase the regular army, and to remedy existing defects in its organization. With this view, your favorable attention is invited to the annual report of the Secreta. ry of War, which accompanied my message of the 8th instant, in which he recommends that ten additional regiments of reg. ular troops shall be raised to serve during the war.
“Of the additional regiments of volunteers which have been called for from several of the states, some have been promptly raised; but this has not been the case in regard to all. The existing law, requiring that they should be organized by the independent action of the state governments, has in some instances occasioned considerable delay, and it is yet uncertain when the troops required can be ready for service in the field.
“It is our settled policy to maintain, in time of peace, as small a regular army as the exigencies of the public service will permit. In a state of war, notwithstanding the great advantages with which our volunteer citizen soldiers can be brought into the field, this small regular army must be increased in its numbers in order to render the whole force more efficient.
" Additional officers, as well as men, then become indispensable. Under the circumstances of our service, a peculiar propriety exists for increasing the officers, especially in the higher grades. The number of sạch officers, who, from age and other causes, are rendered incapable of active service in the field, has seriously impaired the efficacy of the army.
"From the report of the Secretary of War, it appears that about two thirds of the whole regimental field officers are either permanently disabled, or are necessarily detached from their commands on other duties. The long enjoyment of peace has prevented us from experiencing much embarrassment from this cause; but now, in a state of war, conducted in a foreign country, it has produced serious injury to the public service.
“An efficient organization of the army, composed of regulars and volunteers, while prosecuting the war in Mexico, it is believed, would require the appointment of a general officer to take command of all our military forces in the field.
"Upon the conclusion of the war, the services of such an officer would no longer be necessary, and should be dispensed with upon the reduction of the army to a peace establishment
"I recommend that provision be made by law for the appointment of such a general officer, to serve during the war.
"It is respectfully recommended that early action should be had by Congress upon the suggestions submitted to their consideration, as necessary to insure active and efficient service in prosecuting the war before the present favorable season for military operations in the enemy's country shall have passed away.
“James K. Polk. "WASHINGTON, December 29, 1846."
This message was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs of the House. On the following day, that committee, through its chairman, Mr. Haralson, asked to be discharged from the further consideration of so much of the message as related to the passage of a law for the appointment of a general officer, and that it be laid on the table. The record says, “ This inotion was agreed to without any expressed opposition, and the subject was accordingly laid on the table." ;
On the day following, a motion was made by Mr. Hamlin, of Maine, that the yote by which the House discharged the Committee on Military Affairs from, and laid upon the table, so much of the message as related to this appointment, be reconsidered; and, by yeas 86, nays 81, the vote was recon