Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Famous "Hatchery Speech"

Congressman "Private" John Allen Speech before the U.S. House of Representatives February 20, 1901

Many of you gentleman have never been to Tupelo. I hope none of you entertain any idea of dying without going there. I should hate to have it said of any Member of this Congress - for all of whom I have such kindly feeling - that they did not aspire to visit Tupelo before they died. I extend to you all an invitation to come and promise you a royal welcome. Come and go with me on College Hill one evening and see one of our Tupelo sunsets.

Come and see one of our southern, silvery, Tupelo moons! I think it is the only place in the South where we have the same beautiful moons we had before the war. I have often been asked about the size of Tupelo. I confess I have not been able to get the exact figures from the last census. The tabulating machines do not seem to have been able to work it out yet; but I can say, Mr. Chairman, that by sufficiently extending the corporate limits of our town we can accommodate a population larger than the City of London. The truth is that our lands about Tupelo have been so valuable for agriculture purposes that we have not yielded them up for building a city as rapidly as we should have done.

I can say, Mr. Chairman, that while there are larger places than Tupelo, I do not think there is any other place just exactly like it. Tupelo is very near, if not exactly, in the center of the world. The horizon seems about the same distance in every direction. The sun, when going down on regular schedule, comes right over the town, and sometimes gives us a hot time in the old town. It is a great place for the investment of capital, where it will be welcomed and protected. Come early, gentlemen and avoid the rush!

This, Mr. Chairman, is a proposition to establish there a fish hatchery. We have the ideal place for a fish hatchery. Why, sir, fish will travel over land for miles to get into the water we have at Tupelo. Thousands and millions of unborn fish are clamoring to this Congress today for an opportunity to be hatched at the Tupelo hatchery.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I only wish to say in conclusion that if there is a member here who wishes to have his name connected by future generations with that of Judas Iscariot and Benedict Arnold, if he wishes to have himself and his posterity pointed at with scorn, if he desires to be despised by men and shunned by women, let him vote against this amendment and he will secure all this infamous notoriety."

The Hatchery.
Shortly after Congressman Allen gave his plea to Congress, they voted in favor of it, the President signed the bill into law and, in 1904, the hatchery began operations. Almost 100 years later, it is still a productive fish hatchery.

1 comment:

  1. Neat. The "Private John Allen" book by Claude Gentry is a good read for friends of the area.