Peter Flood CollectionBiography
Col. CHARLES JOYCE
The present Member of Congress from the First District of Vermont, came to Northfield in 1850, and commenced reading law at the Center, with John L. Buck, Esq.; read with him one year; then with F. V. Randall, Esq., at Northfield Falls, one year ;' then with F. F. Merrill, Esq., at Montpelier, one year, when he was admitted to the bar of Washington County, at the September term, 1852.
In 1853 Mr. Joyce entered into co-partnership in the practice of law at Northfield with C. N. Carpenter, Esq., and subsequently with F. V. Randall. In 1853 he was appointed State Librarian. In December, 1855, he opened a law office in Northfield. In 1856 he was elected State's Attorney, and was re-elected to the same office in 1857.
As soon as Mr. Joyce was elected State's Attorney his practice of law began to increase, so that in March, 1861, he had a fine docket, and did a good business. When President Lincoln issued his call for seventy-five thousand mane he was at Montpelier, attending a term of court. He immediately returned home to Northfield, and with the aid of some others raised a company of men which they tried to get into the 1st Regiment, commanded by General Phelps. He did not succeed in this, but Governor Fairbanks tendered him the post of Major in the 2d Regiment, which he accepted, and on the 7th of June, 1862, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of his regiment. He remained in the service until January, 1863, when he was compelled to resign his position, on account of poor health.
After returning from the army, and partially recovering his health, he located in Rutland, resuming the practice of law in company with C.C. Dewey, Esq. The partnership continued until the spring of 1866, when it was dissolved, and he carried on business on his own account. In 1869 he was elected to the House of Representatives from Rutland - and again in 1870 - 71. The last two he was elected Speaker, conducting that responsible office in a manner that pleased all parties, and made him decidedly popular.
Mr. Joyce took a lively interest in the campaign of 1868, stumping his own State, and making many speeches both in New York and New Hampshire. In 1874 he was elected to the Forty-fourth Congress, and re-elected in 1876 and also 1878. In the campaign of 1876 he made speeches in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut and Indiana, for Hayes and Wheeler.
Mr. Joyce, during the time he has been [in] Congress, has made the following speeches: In the Forty-fourth Congress me made the first eulogy on the death of Henry Wilson; speech on the currency, in favor of honest money; a speech on the presentation of the statue of Ethan Allen, to be placed in Memorial Hall in the National Capital; next a speech on the Centennial Exposition to be held at Philadelphia in 1876; also a speech in confirmation of certain land claims in the Territory of New Mexico; also a speech on the counting of the electoral vote of Louisiana; also one on counting the electoral vote of Vermont.
In the Forty-fifth Congress Mr. Joyce made the following speeches: One on the contested election case of Patterson against Belford from Colorado; one in the contested election case of Acklen against Darrell, of Louisiana; a speech on the "Resumption act, and the remonetization of silver"; a speech on a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, relating to the election of President and Vice-President, and also relating to the Civil Service of the government; a speech on the Mexican Pension Bill, against restoring to the pension-roll the names of those which had been stricken off for participation in the rebellion; also a speech on the Tariff.
In addition to all this, the Colonel has delivered speeches and orations on nearly every Fourth of July and on nearly every "Decoration Day" since the war. His magnetic power of forcible way of stating his arguments makes him popular with the masses, and we predict for him a still more brilliant future! We give and extract from his late speech in Congress on the Tariff to peroration of which is truly eloquent:
In addition to this, we have cut down the forests, and opened up the prairies; we have lightened the burdens of the toiling, struggling millions, and filled up the world with our inventions. We have built school-houses in every valley and upon every hill-side; we have erected churches in every village; we have touched the banks of creek and river with the magic wand of our mighty progress, and behold villages and cities have once sprung up, filled with a brave, intelligent and industrious people, and echoing the rattle of machinery and the hum of honest industry. Amid the fiery flames of civil war we have cemented anew the bond of our Federal Union with untold treasures and the blood of a million brave men; we have broken down the red Moloch of war between nations and erected upon its ruins the throne of justice and the golden scepter of peaceful arbitration; we have tunneled the Ocean wires, annihilated space and time, and filled the world with wonder and knowledge; we have ascended on high, plucked lightning from the clouds, chained it to the chariot wheels of our progress, and made it the servant of genius and science; we have dived into the bowels of the earth, unlocked the secrets of nature, and compelled them to minister to our comfort, our knowledge, our progress ' we have crystalized [sic] the great principles of liberty, justice and equality, and burned them into the organic law of the Republic; we possess the only free government in the world, and enjoy more real happiness than any other nation on earth. Such is the history of our country under the benignant influence of a protective tariff.
We stand to-day "upon the dividing line between the centuries, looking back through one hundred years, with all the grand achievements, and forward to the illimitable future, with all its magnificent possibilities."
Mr. Joyce married Rowena M. Randall, and they had three children: Ines R., b 1854 ' Grace R., b 1864 ' Charlie R., b 1868.
John Gregory, Northfield's First Century: Centennial Proceedings and Historical Incidents Of the Early Settlers of Northfield, VT., with Biographical Sketches of Prominent Businessmen Who have been and are now residents of the town, (Argus and Patriot Book and Job Printing House, Montpelier, Vt., 1878), p. 219.