What’s the Constitution between friends?
–Timothy J. Campbell (1840-1904), Attributed, circa 1885
A little more below the fold? Certainly.
What a line!
It’s a given that it is probably not wholly accurate, since even Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 16th edition, says the quote is “attributed.” In a footnote, the book says Campbell said it to President Grover Cleveland, when Cleveland refused to support a bill on the grounds that the bill was unconstitutional.
What bill? Did it pass? What was the result?
Campbell was a Democrat from New York City. He had been born in Ireland, in County Cavan, in 1840. Even the official biography from the U.S. Congress is not much to go on:
CAMPBELL, Timothy John, a Representative from New York; born in County Cavan, Ireland, January 8, 1840; immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1845; attended the public schools of New York City; learned the printer’s trade; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1869 and commenced practice in New York City; member of the State assembly 1868-1873, 1875, and 1883; justice of the fifth district civil court in New York City 1875-1883; served in the State senate in 1884 and 1885; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Samuel S. Cox; reelected to the Fiftieth Congress and served from November 3, 1885, to March 3, 1889; chairman, Committee on Expenditures on Public Buildings (Fiftieth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1888 to the Fifty-first Congress; elected to the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses (March 4, 1891-March 3, 1895); unsuccessful candidate in 1894 for reelection to the Fifty-fourth Congress; resumed the practice of his profession in New York City where he died on April 7, 1904; interment in Calvary Cemetery, Long Island City, N.Y.
The Political Graveyard agrees with Congress.
I can’t find a photo of the man. I can’t confirm the quote. It’s a great line, and someone should have said it before Bush and Gonzales, just out of general principle. But how could we know?