IT is frequently a matter of comment
why it is that so few born Scots take an active interest in American
politics. It is generally admitted that there are circumstances abounding
in the political arena that do not appeal to the self-reliant spirit
characteristic of the typical Scot. But whether it is better to stand
aloof from a condition that is capable of improvement, or to take a hand
in rectifying the shortcomings, is a question which each man must answer
for himself. When the Scot does gird his armour on, and champions the
cause of better government, he invariably leaves the impress of his
personality on public affairs. John Witherspoon, President of Princeton
College, was an admirable
example in the early days of the American Republic. In our day, James
Beck, Senator for many years from Kentucky, and General David B.
Henderson, Speaker of Congress, would both likely have been President, had
they been born in America. James Wilson, of Iowa, was Secretary of
Agriculture for nearly twenty yea rs
and David McAdam was the most industrious member of the
Supreme Court that ever graced the bench in the State of New York.
Hon. Charles P. McClelland, United
States General Appraiser, is an admirable example of the cultured,
resourceful Scot, going into politics unaided and alone in his early
manhood, and immediately gaining the recognition due to superior
intelligence, and passing, it may be said, from the narrowing sphere of
partisan politics to the higher plane of constructive statesmanship, and
winning golden opinions from all sorts of men. Much of his marked success
is due to his native eloquence, clear and convincing, and graced with a
quiet humour at once subtle and delightful, superadded to a knowledge of
law, thorough and comprehensive.
Mr. McClelland is from Wigtonshire.
He studied law in New York University, graduating LL.B. in 1882. He was
elected to the State Assembly in 1885, and again in 1886. His eminent
qualities brought him into notice, and he was offered
positions, and served as Deputy Collector of Customs in New York from 1886
to 1890. In 1891, he was again in the Assembly and served on the most
important Committees, being Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means.
In 1892, he was elected to the State Senate. Meanwhile, his law practice
had increased to such proportions that he withdrew for a brief time from
politics, but was again urged to enter the Senate, which he did, being
elected in 1902.
In 1903, he was appointed by
President Roosevelt as United States General Appraiser, and the
appointment was immediately confirmed by the United State Senate, the
appointment being a life term. His office is at 641 Washington Street, New
In spite of his marked success as a
lawyer and statesman, Mr. McClelland has lost none of his delightful
Scottish characteristics. As President of some of the leading Scottish
Societies, he has the rare faculty of drawing out all that is best and
brightest in the expatriated Scot. As a reader of Burns’ poems he has few
equals. He has the mastery of versification with a tender gracefulness
that ever looks lovingly back to the grand old land, which he revisits as
often as his duties will permit. He is an admirable example of the best
type of Scot, who cherishes the love of the old land, superadded to which
is an intense admiration for the land in which he lives. He has a fine
home at Dobbs Ferry on the Hudson, where, with his accomplished wife and
interesting family, he is looked upon as a genial and public-spirited
gentleman of the best type by all who have the honour of his acquaintance.
Mrs. McClelland is a native
American. Two sons: The oldest, George W., is Assistant Professor of
English Literature in the University of Pennsylvania. He married Mildred
Child, of Troy. N. Y., and resides in Philadelphia. The other, Rev.
Clarence P., is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and married
Mary Elizabeth Adams, of Philadelphia. They have two children, a son and
daughter, and reside at Peekskill, N. Y. Two daughters: Myra Belle
and Meta Josephine. The latter married Louis De Voursney Day and resides
at East Orange, N. J. They have one son.